Business yet to realise e-commerce reality

Despite repeated hype, Australian business is yet to grasp a full understanding of e-commerce's ability to impact global economies.

The problem stems from ongoing senior management misunderstanding of e-commerce.

According to Mitch Radomir, business development manager of network integrator NetStar, around 75 per cent of CEO-level people surveyed by the University of Technology, Sydney, believe e-commerce is just an electronic transaction.

Radomir said unless companies develop a business strategy modelled on the understanding that e-commerce is "full-cycle commerce", they don't have a strategy at all.

He explained e-commerce does not just comprise electronic transactions, but also computer telephony integration, PC and online services, Eftpos and TV shopping channels.

As a result, NetStar is going to put its money where its mouth is. Radomir said within the next 24 months the company is moving to adopt a new services and e-commerce-based business strategy.

With the channel facing declining profit margins, NetStar is planning to help organisations deploy e-commerce initiatives.

Driving the e-commerce revolution is entertainment, education, information services and commerce, according to Radomir.

And for the first time, he said, the finance industry, carriers, IT vendors, and to some extent governments, are all aligned to push integrated e-commerce solutions.

However, the only inhibitor to the global deployment of e-commerce solutions is the limited development of telecommunications infrastructure in developing countries such as India and China, Radomir said.

"I don't think [e-commerce] will be global for at least a generation," he said.

However, he said carriers will remain critical to the growth of e-commerce because after 2000 they will not remain profitable from selling voice services alone.

Radomir said a study he conducted with Clear Communications revealed the telco industry is expected to be worth $3 trillion worldwide by 2010.

Online services will contribute around 30 per cent to this market's value, he said.

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