In this chapter, the evolution of e.business is described. The ever-changing balance between demand and supply is outlined. The conclusion is reached that, while technology provides many solutions to long-standing issues, along with great opportunities to create and meet new demands, some fundamental business needs for cost-effective processes and security of communication have yet to be met. Furthermore, value chain management re-development is an essential pre-requisite of the successful application of e.business. Proposals for improvements are therefore also made.
The Early History Of E.Business
I first became involved with e.business around 1970 when my company, Rowntree Mackintosh of York, UK (confectionery and food), was examining ways to reduce the costs and to improve the accuracy of invoicing customers, and thereby to improve the speed of payment. We considered the use of magnetic tapes delivered via couriers, but there was not a widely used standard for such tapes at that time, nor an agreed standard for most paper, let alone electronic, invoices. Thus, Supply could not meet Demand.
Nine track phase encoded magnetic tape had started to become more widely used, but there were many different and incompatible electronic media (tapes, cassettes, disks etc) either being re-developed, or becoming short-lived. Even within companies, point-to-point electronic communication was difficult, despite them being all ‘IBM Blue’ or devoted uniquely to another computer supplier.