3.4 Agents, intelligence agents and technology

 

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The E-Business, the E-Customer, their Relationship and Interactivity

 

 

KunnskapskildenE-Business –
E-Business, E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity

 

Dissertation
The E-Business, the E-Customer,
their Relationship and Interactivity 

Jan Vig 

Dissertation  av Jan Vig om E.Business, E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity  (286 sider) i forbindelse med Masterstudie i Information Technology and Communication Juni 2000.

 

The E-Retailer Business, the E-Customer,
their Relationship and Interactivity

Table of Contents

Chapter One Introduction to the study

Chapter Two Business in Cyberspace

Chapter Three E- Retailer Commerce

Chapter Four E-Customer, Relationship and Interactivity

Chapter Five A Successful Case study – Amazon.com

Chapter Six The Future, Critical Success Factors, E-Business Strategy, Results and Conclusion

Appendix

 

 

Chapter 3

The E-Retailer Commerce 

 

 

Chapter Three E- Retailer Commerce

3.1 Introduction
3.2 The E-Commerce Opportunities, Barriers and Challenges
3.2.1 SWOT
3.2.2 Opportunities and benefits
3.2.3 Barriers and Treats
3.2.4 Challenges
3.3 E-Retailing
3.3.1 Online Retailing
3.3.2 Requirements and elements for E-Retailer commerce
3.4 Agents, intelligence agents and technology
3.5 The Customer led E-Business
3.6 The E-Retailer site development process and project management
3.6.1 The E-Retailer Web development process
3.6.2 Team and skills
3.7 The E-Retailer and Promotion
3.8 Competitive Intelligence and Market Research on the Internet
3.9 Summary

 

 

3.4

Agents, intelligence agents and technology

 

As mentioned before technology has contributed to an explosive growth both in the business and customer sectors of the retail industry within the past decade.  The Internet, and especially the World Wide Web, has connected people across cities and continents. This new communication channel has dramatically changed the way people learn, entertain and shop. It has also give rise to a whole new class of programs, software agents that help people find information on the web.
Agents, also called Bots and Spiders, are programs that perform simple functions for people. Most agents are used to search through information, the users tell an agent what they want to find, and it finds it for them.
Agents are computer programs that adapt to a user’s personal needs and preferences in order to make the life easier. They are the perfect way to perform the methodical tasks that currently take up so much of our time online. Several different kinds of agents are currently in existence or in development.

 

One type of agent, the shopping agent, is designed to facilitate E-Commerce. Shopping agents help the E-Customers find the products or services they want at the best price. Examples of such agents include for instance Excite’s Jango, C|NET’s Shop-per.com, and Andersen Consultant’s original shopping agent, BargainFinder.
Until recently, agents could only be accessed via a desktop computer at home or at work. With the advent of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and wireless Internet connections, however, these agents are now accessible from virtually anywhere.

With customers able to find the best price regardless of where they shop, the physical retailer is left at a disadvantage. On the other hand the E-Retailer will be living in a pricewar area with much harder competition than a lot of retailers are aware of.

 

Forrest (1999: 39) writes “despite all the media hype about intelligent agents the functionality of agents has generally been unable to keep up with the high expectations of users. The majority of intelligent agents currently available to the average Web user tend to be rather task-specific”

 

He present the following types of agents:

  • Recommendation agents, who identify the preferences and recommend web sites, which might be of interest.
  • Shopping agents, which are useful for buying products and find the best price online.
  • We browsing agents for enhancing the web browsing experience.

 

 

 

According to Siegel (2000) we have:

  • Information Retrieval Programs called spiders, search the Web incessantly for information and bring it back for cataloging and searching.
  • Data Mining.
  • Browsing Assistants.
  • Intelligent Interfaces agents that will be able to customize interfaces depending on user preferences.
  • Chatter Bots.
  • Email bots can inspect your incoming email, determine who it’s intended for and who it’s coming from, and generate specific responses based on that information.
  • Shopping Agents.
  • Comparison Engines.
  • Stock Bots.

 

 

 

In the table below an overview of the different categories of bots:

 

  • Bot Design
  • Chatter Bots
  • Commerce Bots
  • Data Mining Bots
  • E-Mail Bots
  • ·Fun Bots
  • Game Bots

 

  • Goverment Bots
  • Knowledge Bots
  • Miscelanous Bots
  • News Bots
  • Newsgroup Bots

 

  • Research On Bots
  • Search Bots
  • Shopping Bots
  • Software Bots
  • Stock Bots
  • Update Bots
  • Web Development

Table 3.3 Categories of bots

 

Internet computing delivers a lot of opportunities for business and commerce across a globally connected world. The opportunities to improve customer-to-business interaction, such as; customer support, products and services, and education and training are now universally accessible through a browser. Small and medium businesses have significant opportunities to expand business exposure in marketing services and products to a vast and growing audience of Internet users. Enterprise and globally diverse businesses have new opportunities to enhance business processes, such as; orders, manufacturing, and sales processing through the Internet and thus reducing significant costs in building or maintaining their own legacy global networks. The opportunities for commerce and business automation across the Internet seem endless and represent the next great paradigm in Internet computing.

 

 

GartnerGroup (2000) classifies companies as Type A, B or C based on the aggressiveness with which they adopt and use technology. Briefly defined:

  • Type A enterprises (pioneers) are technology-driven and are often willing to risk using immature, cutting-edge technologies to gain a competitive edge.
  • Type B (mainstream) enterprises are moderate technology adopters, implementing new technologies once they have been proven useful and have entered the mainstream.
  • Type C enterprises (followers) are technologically risk-averse and cost-conscious; they are usually among the last to adopt new technologies.

 

 

 

1999 signaled the start of a shift in the market according to GartnerGroup. GartnerGroup could see that the market was starting to be dominated by Type B enterprises

 

The shift to a Type B market involves the following:
Change No. 1: The Need for Vertical Systems.Change No. 2: The Need for Prepackaging.Change No. 3: Less Additional Functionality.Change No. 4: Emphasis on User Interface.

 

 

 

“Businesses today must build their networking infrastructure around legacy systems, existing investments, and the future of Internet computing. The building blocks towards enabling rich electronic commerce should not require companies to abandon their reliable, existing infrastructure or business practices – rather, it should build upon and extend – giving customers the freedom and flexibility to lower costs of ownership and maintenance over time. The flexibility to add commerce-enabled services to your existing network – with minimal risk, minimal effort, while maintaining the control and the integrity of your network is critical.” (GartnerGroup, 2000)

 

The essential building blocks for commerce across the Internet are:

  • Network Infrastructure & Platform
  • Internet Connectivity Services
  • Internet Security & Authorization Services
  • Database & Transaction Services
  • Commerce Services

 

 

The retailer need to consider four topics before venturing into or expanding their e-business capabilities:

  • E-Business platforms and applications.
  • Integration with enterprise systems.
  • Payment technology.
  • E-Business infrastructure. 

 

 

 

Weis (1999) writes: “In addition to the alphabet soup of standards that governs the Internet, e-commerce employs several of its own standards, most of which apply to business-to-business transactions”

These are:

  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
  • Open Buying on the Internet (OBI)
  • The Open Trading Protocol (OTP)
  • The Open Profiling Standard (OPS)
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
  • Secure Electronic Transactions (SET
  • Truste (http://www.truste.org/ This is a partnership of companies seeks to build public trust in e-commerce by putting seal of approval on sites that don’t violate customer privacy.

 

 

One of the most important and difficult decisions the E-Retailer has to take is which technology and what kind of combination he should choose. Today it is so many possibilities and the pace of change so fast that a lot of companies have to make sure that they get some good advises before starting. A scalable solution is a necessity otherwise the E-Retailer will have to invest a large sum of money to chose new suppliers.

 

Download Dissertation

 

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