This section introduces some basic facts on contemporary business, pressures that exist in business environment, and IT-based responses that organizations employ in order to respond to the ever-growing requirements. Today’s business is described by using ten major attributes.
Contemporary businesses today, more than ever, are faced with tremendous competition in a rapidly changing environment. Companies are operating on highly competitive markets that have become global, more dynamic, and customer oriented. Customers are more powerful and ask for customized products and services, while governments issue more and more compliance regulations. Recently, IDC introduced the term of “the velocity of business change” and emphasized the fact that “business is changing at a greater velocity than ever” (Hammond, 2007).
Due to all changes and pressures, businesses are seeking new ways to respond to these requirements. Applying several information technologies in order to find appropriate responses is considered as one of most widely used approach. Organizations try to design modern information architectures and implement enterprise information systems (EIS) in order to fulfill these requirements and create competitive advantage (see Figure 1).
Within such a context, contemporary business can be described by the following ten major attributes:
Today’s business is operating under ever growing set of business pressures coming from its environment: competitors, markets, customers, governmental regulatory requirements, and so forth. Many large corporations have product (services) development or manufacturing centers in many countries.
Business has to be proactive, rather than reactive, in finding the ways to recognize, predict and respond to incoming business pressures.
Businesses employ information technologies in order to provide responses to business pressures and business risks, by enhancing productivity levels, reducing costs, and improving the quality of products and services.
Businesses apply IT-based techniques and methods in order to improve both efficiency and effectiveness of decision making and business processes.
They seek for more efficient and more effective ways to store, manage, analyze, and use data in order to become and remain competitive.
They are constantly exposed to several types of business risks.
Business has to admit that application of information technologies bring specific IT-related business risks as well.
It has to integrate itself into a networked business environment (networked economy, highly interconnected global economy), which forces businesses to have a well established data communications-networking platform and a platform for virtual business. The highly interconnected global business is operating at the lightning speed. Improved and well-integrated data and voice communication technologies during the last twenty years enabled businesses to establish customer services in “low-cost” and “Native-English speaking” countries.
It has to be resilient (continuous) and operational on “always-on” basis: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is particularly important for multinational companies because theier customers, suppliers, partners, employees, are located in many different time zones. Business critical applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationships management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), e-commerce applications, financial applications and services, call centers, Web servers, and e-mail servers must be up at all times. The leading multinational companies seek for highly available, reliable and scalable operating environments because their customers, suppliers, employees, are located in many different time zones. Their mission-critical e-business applications such as ERP, CRM, and SCM must be up at all times.
Finally, modern business has to be agile, adaptive and responsive in increasingly competitive and changing business environment.