Model of Funcionalities for the Development of B2B E-Commerce Solutions

Model of Funcionalities for the Development of B2B E-Commerce Solutions

Marlene Pinto (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal), Ana Rodrigues (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal), João Varajão (University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal) and Ramiro Gonçalves (Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-765-4.ch003
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Abstract

The explosive growth of the Internet has revolutionized the way of conducting business in several areas, acting nowadays as an important channel of communication and for the trading of goods and services. Therefore, electronic commerce (EC), defined as the execution of transactions of goods and services which rely on computers mediated by informatics networks, assumes particular importance due to the benefits that it may imply for companies. In this chapter we focus on a particular type of electronic commerce: business to business (B2B). B2B describes electronic commerce associated to operations of buying and selling products and services through the Internet or through the use of private networks shared between business partners, thus replacing the physical process around commercial transactions. This type of EC facilitates conducting electronic transactions between companies. There are several B2B solutions that enable companies to make transactions from buying and selling goods and services, to participating in auctions. The analysis of such solutions enabled us to verify that there are big differences in the amount of the supported functionalities, and significant opportunities for development, with the aim of helping companies to evaluate their electronic commerce solutions and to conceive new and more complete systems. In this chapter, a new model of functionalities for the development of B2B EC solutions is presented.
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2. Context

EC can be defined as the process of buying, selling and exchanging products, services and information, using computer networks including the Internet (Turban et al., 2002; Jennex et al., 2004). Kalakota and Whinston (1997) define EC using the perspective of an electronic data network, automated business processes, automated services and on-line buying and selling.

Nowadays it has a significant importance in the business world and it radically changes the relationship between supplier and client (Kendall et al., 2001), not only in process terms but also in the way transactions are made (Wigand, 1997; Kalakota & Whinston, 1997; Choi et al., 2006). It has the power of connecting individuals, groups and organizations worldwide and one of the differences in contrast to traditional industries is the high degree of interconnection between the several parts. It can help organizations to reduce costs, to interact directly with clients and to stay ahead of the competition (Liu & Arnett, 2000).

It is believed that EC contributes to the progress of businesses in undeveloped countries (Robey et al., 1990). This belief is derived from the potential of the Internet for reducing transaction costs, fostering some intermediary links and permitting an easier connection to the global supply chain. In order to benefit from the advantages of such potentialities, businesses should adopt EC. Nevertheless, its diffusion in undeveloped countries is still below expectations (Molla & Licker, 2005).

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