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M&C SAATCHI ART DIRECTOR, CHRIS ROUND, IS ALSO AN ACCOMPLISHED PHOTOGRAPHER - WHICH QUALIFIES HIM TO TALK ABOUT THE STANDARD OF WORK ENTERED INTO THE RECENT FUJI ACMP AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTION AND SELECT WORK FOR PUBLICATION. HERE IS WHAT HE SAID.

   
   
   
     
 

Throughout the last decade we have experienced a revolution in the world of business, mainly caused by the emergence of Internet and the rapid evolvement of technology that supports every step in the process of doing business. This rapid evolvement has created a constantly changing business environment, and to remain a part of it many businesses have been forced to change the way they conduct business and the approaches they take towards strategy and management (Rayport, Jaworski 2001, p 2).

The changes in technology and the emergence of the internet have given businesses the opportunity to engage in what we call electronic business or more simply: e-business. The term e-business is defined on searchEBusiness.com as “the conduct of business on the Internet, not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners”.With the emerge of the internet, a new market was revealed, popularly referred to as the market space.

This new created a boom in electronic businesses, or so called dotcom’s, and countless ideas on how to best reach the new market. It was a “me too” rush as everybody wanted a piece of the pie. Because the environment was new and unfamiliar, few have much experience and no one could predict what was going to happen in the future, so initially a lot of companies were simply trying and failing. Expectations were often higher than reality, and many companies with virtual assets were highly overvalued on the stock exchange. As with all markets, the market space also had a saturation point, and eventually the dotcom bubble to burst.

Since the bubble burst there has been a decline in dotcoms, however some companies with unique strategies managed to stay aloft, and are today highly profitable companies and well known brands, such as eBay and Amazon.com. Whit Andrews, a research director with Gartner in Stamford, Conn. argues that despite the antihype, e-commerce is not dead. "There's a real excitement vacuum, but there's not a spending or an interest vacuum" (Varon. E. 2003). A survey conducted by Information Week reveals that the use of the internet among businesses is declining; nonetheless many companies continue to stay optimistic about Internet projects and investments, especially as a means to get closer to customers (Hayes. M. 2002).

The reason why many failed was because, while their website and customer interface worked perfectly well, they did not have the backbone infrastructure and distribution system, like supply-chain management and database management, to support it. The front-end sector of e-commerce; Internet retail, Web design and marketing, got all the attention when online mania was heating up. It was also the first area of e-business to flame out as the economy began to stumble. For businesses who wants to be competitive in e-commerce today, it is essential to have consistency and quality through all levels of the business operations, which means the back end of e-commerce; pick, pack and ship, has to be just bit as good as the; click, select and check out. The chain will never be stronger than its weakest link.

Evidence of this is found in a survey of over 500 CIOs and IT directors published by AMR Research September 2003, which found that most planned to spend at least a small amount on e-commerce systems in 2003. The survey respondents said they would focus on infrastructure investments, such as enterprise application integration, that ultimately support online commerce.

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