Electronic Commerce Strategy in the UK Electricity Industry: The Case of Electric Co and Dataflow Software

Electronic Commerce Strategy in the UK Electricity Industry: The Case of Electric Co and Dataflow Software

Duncan R. Shaw (University of Nottingham, UK), Christopher P. Holland (University of Manchester, UK), Peter Kawalek (University of Manchester, UK), Bob Snowdon (University of Manchester, UK), and Brian Warboys (University of Manchester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-060-8.ch087
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This paper investigates the collective use of a simple modeling technology by highly complex, heterogeneous and numerous groups of stakeholders who heavily depend upon it to mediate their interactions. We use economic theory, design theory, complex systems theory and business process modeling concepts to analyze deregulation and business to business interaction in the UK electricity industry, and the strategic business and IT response of Electric Co, a large electricity supply company. The relevance of this study comes from its investigation of a novel example of the shaping of a whole sector’s ebusiness through regulatory law and thus we are concerned with enterprise and inter-enterprise systems not purely with ERP systems. We focus on model-based business interaction and its effect upon the business and consumer behaviors of a whole country’s electricity sector. This sector is a socio-technical system; so business processes and consumer behaviors are not only shaped by the regulator’s legally enforced business to business process interaction model, but the opinions of businesses and the public also influence how the regulator updates its model. Thus business behaviors, consumer behaviors and the model interact to shape each other. By moving from intra to inter-organizational business processes we seek to demonstrate and explain the value of models in e-business where the complexity of interacting business systems involves many thousands of parameters. We show how developments in technical standards and business process management are related to inter-organizational interaction and coordination.

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