Ask Dr. Intranet

FRAMINGHAM (03/10/2000) - How do e-business and e-commerce fit into and interact with intranets?

E-business and e-commerce activities are extensions of intranets and extranets that leverage Web technologies to create more efficient business operations.

E-business integrates and extends conventional business processes by converging computing, networking and communications technologies. It enables more efficient models of business interaction and streamlined enterprise operations.

E-commerce is the transaction-oriented domain of e-business that enables buying and selling processes through Web and proprietary network technology.

Businesses today are challenged to integrate e-commerce, customer relationship management, knowledge, logistics and supply-chain management processes to compete in the e-business economy.

E-business initiatives require more than technology solutions. Business processes must be documented, mapped and analyzed to determine the best application and management of electronic data relationships in the firm and with trading partners. E-business transformation may require suppliers, shipping firms, regulatory agencies and financial institutions to agree on a data-exchange format, or a gateway to translate the data traveling between organizations. The data must be integrated with legacy systems in the organizations. Intranet capabilities often bind e-business interfaces to the legacy systems.

Blass is a network architect at Sprint Paranet in Houston. He can be reached at dr.intranet@ paranet.com.

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