E-Commerce in a Digital Economy

E-Commerce in a Digital Economy

Sushil K. Sharma (Ball State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-799-7.ch050
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A digital economy is a convergence of communications, computing, and information. The essential in the new economy is a structural shift from the industrial economy toward an economy characterized by information, intangibles, and services, and a parallel change toward new work organizations and institutional forms (Gronstedt, 2001; Harreld, 1998; Sharma, Wickramasinghe & Gupta, 2004; Woodall, 2000). The new economy or digital economy is based more in the form of intangibles, information, innovation, and creativity, to expand economic potential (Sharma, 2004; Tapscott, 1996, 1998) and is based on the exploitation of ideas rather than material things. The essential elements of the digital economy are: • Digitalization and intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICT); • Codification of knowledge; • Transformation of information into commodities; and • New ways of organizing work and production. This implies that extensive information and many services are available online. A widely distributed access to the networks, the intranet and Internet, and of skills to live and work in the Information Society, is the basis for the digital economy. In a digital environment, the Internet’s growth and e-commerce begins to create fundamental change to government, societies, and economies with social, economic and political implications (Boulton, Libert, & Samek, 2000; McGarvey, 2001). E-commerce has already improved business value by fundamentally changing the ways products are conceived, marketed, delivered, and supported. The relationship and interaction of various stakeholders such as customers, suppliers, strategic partners, agents, or distributors is noticeably changed. The real impact of e-commerce is its ability to reduce costs and prices and make doing business more efficient (Zwass, 1998). These savings permeate the entire value chain and impact significantly in business interactions with other businesses (Bernardes, 2000; Sharma, 2004; Sharma & Gupta, 2003a).

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