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[MCS-052] How are databases used in e-business? How does e-business fit into different locations within the production chain?

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Databases in e-business

Today’s businesses have spent heavily on e-business solutions and web based applications in order to promote and sell products, provide customer service, and interact with business partners on the Web.

The suit, tie and sample case are mostly a thing of the past. Cold calls are not always as cold as they used to be. Best of all, conducting business wearing fuzzy bunny slippers is easier than it ever used to be. A lot of the praise for this can be put on e-business and databases – two entities that are inextricably intertwined.

Databases are a sophisticated way of storing information. Their purpose has always been to store and cataloginformation so that it can be retrieved later. Business has understood this implicitly. They have long used databases to store customer information, product information and financial records. Over time, they have grown to use databases for more and more tasks, helping to automate and track operations.

e-Business is even more dependent upon databases. Without databases, e-business would not exist. e-Business is about taking how businesses have always operated and making them availableelectronically when and where customers want it. This could mean an individual buying an antique doll at 3 am off eBay, a college student getting a textbook from Amazon the week before classes start, or businesses ordering another gross of fasteners because a new order from overseas just arrived.

Databases are in constant use by almost every e-Business in existence. I say almost every, because there are a few tiny e-business operations that use e-mail and static web pages. The rest, no matter how small, use databases in some part of their operations – even if they do not realize it. From eBay sellers to Amazon Associates to Google Adsense providers, all of these business operations rely heavily on databases.

Independent operations use even more databases. Blogs and product catalogsrely on databases. Shopping carts and knowledge bases are also built on databases. Even simple forums and discussion boards are built around databases. Larger businesses add customer databases, product databases, support databases, financial databases, operational data stores (ODS), data warehouses (DW), and much more.

What is e-business? 

It is a fundamental change to the way an organization conducts business. An e-business uses Internet technology to:

• Attract, satisfy, and retain the customers who buy its products and services

• Streamline supply chain, manufacturing, and procurement systems to efficiently deliver the right products and services to the customers

• Automate corporate business processes to reduce cost and improve efficiency through self-service

• Capture, analyze, and share business intelligence about customers and company operations. This enables management to make better business decisions and to continually refine business strategy.
An e-business requires a variety of Internet-enabled applications including e-commerce Web sites, portals, supply-chain management, procurement management, online marketplaces, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning. All these applications must be integrated with one another to make an enterprise an e-business.

Figure Integration, the Key to E‐Business Drivers of E‐Business Integration

The necessity for businesses to become “zero latency organizations” drives enterprise-wide integration of information systems and applications. For instance, in a smoothly running e-business:

• An order received at an electronic storefront is automatically visible to a customer service representative who must answer customer inquiries about its status.

• The order is automatically propagated to a supply chain application to start a planning and execution operation.

• The order information is exchanged over the Internet with a supplier or partner who provides fulfillment and delivery.

These developments drive the need for e-business integration:

• “Mergers and Acquisitions”

• “Packaged Applications”

• Business Process Re-engineering

• Virtual, Dynamic Supply Chains

• Customer Relationship Management

• Corporate Self-Service

• Business-to-Business Commerce

• Application Service Providers and Hosting


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