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In this paper the evolution of eBusiness or digital business is analysed. Firstly, a number of definitions are presented. Digital business is then analysed in the context of a clear distinction being drawn between applications and models. Reviews of the enablers and the drivers of eBusiness are also presented. Some conceptual models for understanding eBusiness are then reviewed and finally a new revised model is put forward. This so-called extended SCOR model, developed by combining ideas from the original Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model and Porter's Value Chain model is offered as a mechanism to map current eBusiness applications and models and may also be used to position and anticipate future eBusiness initiatives.
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Production Planning & Control,
Vol. 18, No. 3, April 2007, 239–260
A review of eBusiness and digital
business—applications, models and trends
yNational University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
zUniversity of Manchester, England
In this paper the evolution of eBusiness or digital business is analysed. Firstly, a number of
definitions are presented. Digital business is then analysed in the context of a clear distinction
being drawn between applications and models. Reviews of the enablers and the drivers of
eBusiness are also presented. Some conceptual models for understanding eBusiness are then
reviewed and finally a new revised model is put forward. This so-called extended SCOR
model, developed by combining ideas from the original Supply Chain Operations Reference
(SCOR) model and Porter’s Value Chain model is offered as a mechanism to map current
eBusiness applications and models and may also be used to position and anticipate future
eBusiness initiatives.
Keywords: eBusiness applications; eBusiness models; Drivers; Conceptual model; eBusiness
1. Introduction
Over the past decade many terms and definitions have
been used to describe the kind of business that is
transacted using electronic or digital means. The terms
eBusiness and, to a lesser extent, digital business have
been used to describe this phenomenon. In this paper the
terms are used interchangeably.
The definitions of the term ‘digital business’ are as
varied as those for the word ‘business’. The manner in
which digital business is defined depends largely on the
perspective of the user. For example, while financial
managers may have a view of digital business that
reflects their financial view of the enterprise, supply
chain managers may prefer to view the operational
elements of a business.
Lee and Whang (2001) define eBusiness as the ‘use
of Internet-based computing and communications
to execute both front-end and back-end business
processes’ and describe it as ‘a key enabler to drive
supply chain integration’. They are concerned with
the supply chain aspects of eBusiness and highlight
the impact of eBusiness on supply chain integration. The
dimensions of information integration, the synchronisa-
tion of planning and the coordination of workflow
are all key elements in the application of eBusiness to
supply chain management. PriceWaterhouseCoopers
have a more general definition of eBusiness as ‘the
application of information technology to facilitate
buying and selling of products, services and information
over standard-based networks’ (Fatt 2002).
IBM (2003) defines eBusiness in terms of benefits that
can be achieved by putting key processes online. In their
view the key to becoming an eBusiness is putting ‘all
core business processes (especially all processes that
require a dynamic and interactive flow of information)’
online ‘to improve service, cut costs and sell products’.
Scott (2000) defines eBusiness as ‘a complex fusion
of business processes, enterprise applications, and
organisational structure that is necessary to create
a high-performance business model’.
*Corresponding author. Email:
Production Planning and Control
ISSN 0953–7287 print/ISSN 1366–5871 online ß2007 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/09537280601127245
For the purpose of this research the authors have
classified eBusiness under two general headings:
‘eBusiness applications’ and ‘eBusiness models’. Each
of these is described in the following sections.
1.1 eBusiness applications
eBusiness applications provide a means of carrying out
traditional business functions faster, cheaper and in
principle better using information and communications
technology (ICT). For example, supply chain manage-
ment still involves managing the flow of goods,
information and finance through the supply chain.
However, this can be achieved faster and cheaper
using electronic supply chain management applications.
Removing paperwork and delays reduces costs directly
and indirectly. Previously unimaginable efficiencies are
achieved. Companies gain competitive advantage
through the implementation of these applications,
although this requires building on the proven principles
of effective strategy (Phan 2003).
The promise of profits and efficiencies has led a
number of key software solution companies to provide
‘packaged’ eBusiness applications. For instance Oracle
acclaims its eBusiness suite as ‘a complete set of business
applications that enables you to efficiently manage
customer interactions, manufacture products, ship
orders, collect payments and more—all from a business
system that shares a single technology foundation’
(Oracle 2003). Siebel, another current leader in the
provision of eBusiness applications, sells its products
claiming that they ‘enable organizations to deploy
an integrated set of customer-driven best practices
across their sales, marketing, and customer service’
(Siebel 2003).
Microsoft (2003), PeopleSoft (2003), SSA Global
Technologies (2003) and Pivotal (2003) also provide
applications aimed at various markets and sectors that
promise to span sales, marketing, services and many
of the other traditional nodes on the value chain.
The common thread running through each of these
applications is that they typically deal with the well-
established value chain or supply chain. They are
concerned with improving the execution of existing
business transactions and communication.
The Aberdeen Group (2003) have classified eBusiness
applications under the following headings:
Supply chain management
These applications use web technologies to manage
beyond the organisation, upstream and downstream.
The strategic approach unites all steps in the business
cycle, from initial product design and the procurement
of raw materials, through production, shipping, dis-
tribution, and warehousing until a finished product is
delivered to a customer (IBM 2003). e-Procurement is
included in this area. This enables purchasing via
electronic means whereby the inquiries, orders, invoices,
payments and other activities are transacted directly
through a company’s computer system. The procure-
ment process is integrated back through the value chain
to suppliers by electronic means and the internal
purchasing process is automated (Allen 2001). e-
Logistics provides the necessary electronic means for
the administration and operation of the physical
execution of the logistical needs of a company. It
involves the complex analysis of different transportation
options balancing quality, cost and speed to meet the
customer’s particular needs (Weseley 2001).
Enterprise applications
These applications include the financial value chain
management which tracks the pricing, invoicing and
payment cycles in a business. It also includes the
applications that are used for human resource manage-
ment and e-Learning, dealing with the systems that
support the delivery of training or education via some
electronic medium inside companies or business
Customer relationship management
e-CRM (electronic customer relationship management)
is a strategy used to learn more about the customers’
needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger
relationships with them. The applications transform
existing customer data into real sales, sales opportunities
and marketing insights using new technologies
(CIMRU 2002).
Business intelligence
The business intelligence applications provide enter-
prises with a means of understanding and modelling
business problems and mapping these models to other
tools and applications. They are decision support
technologies used by top and middle management as a
basis for making key strategic and tactical decisions.
The terms used for eBusiness applications as
described above are typically the normal business
activity preceded by the letter ‘e’. As the developers
get better at satisfying the business needs of companies,
eBusiness applications are becoming more sophisticated
and more interoperable. Many earlier eBusiness
applications were concerned with integrating functions
and activities within a business. The current focus is
on inter-enterprise application integration. With the
240 B. Wall et al.
development of each new eBusiness application the
business model changes to a degree. The way in which
companies conduct business gradually changes to reflect
the advances in communication and information tech-
nology. On the other hand when an enterprise adopts
a new business model it typically requires a radical
transformation and a substantial mind-set change.
1.2 eBusiness Models
Technology has facilitated the creation of an entirely
new way of doing business—the eBusiness model.
Kalakota and Robinson (2001) state that eBusiness is
not simply ‘eCommerce transactions or the buying and
selling on the web’. They argue that it is the ‘overall
strategy of redefining old business models, with the aid
of technology, to maximise customer value and profits’.
In a similar vein, Slywotzky et al. (2000) describe digital
business design as ‘transforming the way you do
business by taking advantage of the new strategic
options enabled by digital technologies’.
Both Kalakota and Robinson (2001) and Slywotzky
et al. (2000) seem to agree that eBusiness is more than
the application of technology to an existing business
model but includes the creation of new eBusiness models
that are based on the use of new technology. Many of
the other definitions of digital business, such as those
from Scott (2000) and Lee and Whang (2001), refer to
the way in which ‘information and communication
technologies (ICTs) facilitate businesses to carry out
their existing processes faster and more globally’. It is
true that in recent years technology has revolutionised
the speed and the geographical scope of businesses;
however the key change is that enterprises are beginning
to think of new models for doing business that are not
based on traditional rules.
Timmers (1999) defines the business model as
providing an architecture for product, service and
information flows where the sources of revenue are
described and the benefits to the various business actors
are clear. While this is a reasonably clear definition,
Rappa (2003) defines a business model in even simpler
terms. He sees a business model as being the method by
which a company can sustain itself through revenue
generation and suggests that it should spell out the
way in which a company makes money by specifying
where it is in the supply chain. In the past few years,
a number of new business models have emerged which
could not have been imagined prior to the recent digital
technology developments. For example, Dell computers
have adopted a highly successful ‘direct model’ (Rappa
2003) which allows a manufacturer to sell their products
directly to the end customers thus by-passing the usual
supply-chain intermediaries. Dell applied this model,
using the principles of just-in-time delivery of mass-
customised products with zero inventories, but also
based on underlying Internet technology. Ford and
GM are pursuing a similar model in the automotive
industry. Amazon ( has adopted a
‘merchant model’ (Rappa 2003) allowing them to retail
goods and services over the Internet. These eBusiness
models have only come about because of the advances
that have been made in technology and the willingness
of value chain players to adopt these technologies
(see table 1).
Table 1. Classification of eBusiness models adapted from Rappa (2003).
Type of model Instances
Brokerage model: Brokers bring buyers and sellers together
and facilitate transactions.
Marketplace exchange, buy/sell fulfilment, demand collection
system, auction broker, bounty broker, distributor, search
agent, virtual mall.
Advertising model: The broadcaster is a web site, provides
content and services mixed with advertising.
Portal, personalised portal, niche portal, classifieds, registered
users, query-based paid placement, contextual advertising,
Infomediary model: Consumption information is analysed and
used to target marketing campaigns.
Advertising networks, audience measurement services, incen-
tive marketing, metamediary.
Merchant model: Wholesalers and retailers of goods and
services sell on the Internet.
Virtual merchant, catalogue merchant, click and mortar, bit
Manufacturer (direct)model: Manufacturers reach buyers
directly and compress the distribution channel.
Manufacturer model, brand integrated content, postpone/
warehouse manufacture.
Affiliate model: Enterprise seeks to drive a high volume of
traffic to one site, the affiliate model.
Affiliate model offers financial incentives (a percentage of
revenue) to affiliated partner sites.
Community model: Based on user loyalty. Users have a high
investment in both time and emotion.
Open source model, public broadcasting model, knowledge
Subscription model: Daily, monthly or annual fees are charged
to subscribe to a service.
Content services, person-to-person networking services, trust
services, Internet service providers.
Utility model: A ‘pay as you go’ approach. Metered subscriptions.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 241
Rappa (2003) has derived definitions of the new
business models that have evolved to reflect the
technology advances. Other researchers have coined
alternative names for many of the aforementioned
models but for the purpose of this paper Rappa’s
classification is used as a base reference because of its
structure and breadth.
Many of these models have been implemented
successfully in companies worldwide. In some cases
these models are the basis for the major source of
revenue (e.g.; while in other cases a new
eBusiness model provides an additional revenue stream
for an existing business. For example, in the European
airline business, the virtual merchant model has been
adopted very successfully by Ryanair ( as
their primary means of selling product (i.e. low price
airline tickets). In the past few years the Irish national
carrier, Aer Lingus (, has successfully
adopted the virtual merchant model to part of its
business in an attempt to reduce costs. However, it has
maintained existing sales channels although both busi-
ness models are effectively in competition.
The implementation of a new eBusiness model is not
always the solution to a problem. In the late 1990s
eBusiness models were lauded as providing the oppor-
tunity to exploit new markets. While there have been
success stories there have been some notable failures— and being prime examples. The
implementation of eBusiness models fail for a variety of
reasons. One of the main reasons is the lack of a proper
business plan by which to implement the model. Other
reasons for failure include the inability to fulfil orders on
time and the lack of cost controls. Weseley (2001) points
out that logistics is where the virtual world collides with
the physical world. If the eBusiness model requires
physical goods to be moved then it needs to plan
logistics correctly.
While many of the models classified by Rappa are
accepted, and in use, other eBusiness models are also
emerging. For example, the concept of the ‘extended
product’ has gained acceptance in recent years.
Extended products comprise more than a core or
tangible product. They are a combination of physical
product and associated services and enhancements,
where these services and enhancements are frequently
a result of the application of information and commu-
nications technology (ICT). The extended product
perspective emphasises the utility of the package
(product and services) rather than the traditional
product itself. This can be seen in figure 1 where the
traditional view of the product in the narrow sense
included the materials that went into producing the
product along with the packaging shell. The broader
sense recognises the increasing demand of the consumer
for information and knowledge-based services layered
on to the physical product. Customers are no longer
satisfied with the simple physical product. They
frequently require information and services to be
available as part of the overall value proposition.
Analysing the lifecycle of a product is crucial for
synthesising and specifying new types of benefit for a
customer. According to the EXPIDE consortium
(EXPIDE 2002) one comprehensive way of viewing an
extended product is to examine the lifecycle of the
product. Some of the product ‘extensions’ that have
been identified are presented below:
Traceability and support information
This extended product occurs in the food and beverage
industry where producers and distributors add a service
Core product
Non-tangible product
Tangible product
Including materials and
technical functions of a
(Tangible) product
Kernel of product
Including the packaging
of the core product
Product shell
Intangible surroundings of
the tangible product
Product in a narrow sense
(Tangible entity to be
offered to the market)
Product in a broader sense
(Product solution, consisting of
ible as well as intan
ible assets)
Figure 1. Extended products (EXPIDE 2002).
242 B. Wall et al.
to the tangible product by providing the customer with
information about the origin and the process history
of the product. Serving suggestions and nutritional
information are also part of this extended product.
Repair and maintenance services
This relates to the purchase of a piece of equipment.
The maintenance and repair is considered part of
the product. This is already the case for example with
car manufacturers offering warranties and a number
of car services as part of the core product (i.e. the car).
Software with financial services
Lee and Whang (2001) illustrate the extended product
concept in the area of personal finance software. Intuit,
a world leader in personal finance software, traditionally
sold software products though retail channels. They are
now linking their products to many key banking
institutions through the Internet and delivering services
to these business and individual customers such as
on-line tax preparation, bill payments, mortgage
brokering and payroll administration.
Integrated product upgrades
Some products, such as integrated circuits, need to keep
apace with constant product development changes.
To deal with this the semiconductor company, Xilinx,
have created a field-programmable logic device
with internet-reconfigurable-logic (IRL) allowing the
programming logic of their devices to be modified or
updated after the installation at the customer site
(Lee and Whang 2001). This extended product provides
a previously unachievable benefit to customers and
suppliers alike by eliminating onsite updating or
physical replacement.
Other extended product services include for example,
operation support, disposal of hazardous materials and
dismantling or indeed recycling services at the product
end of life stage.
In order to provide extended products it is necessary
for enterprises to communicate with one another with
a high degree of integration. Browne et al. (1995)
describes the concept of the extended enterprise where
core product functionalities are provided separately by
different companies who come together to offer a
customer-defined product or service. The extended
enterprise concept was facilitated by previous and
on-going developments in areas such as just-in-time
(JIT), world class manufacturing (WCM), lean enter-
prise and business process re-engineering (BPR) as they
allowed the traditional manufacturing enterprise to
begin to communicate more readily with first tier
suppliers, customers and service providers. Extended
enterprise concepts have been developed by many
theorists and practitioners and new business models
continue to emerge. Huang (2002) presents a model
which describes the process of collaborative product
design in an extended enterprise. Chan and Chung
(2002) put forward a framework that facilitates the
adoption of a networked infrastructure to increase the
responsiveness of outsourced contract manufacturers.
Following on from the extended enterprise concept is
that of the virtual enterprise (VE). The VE is a
temporary coalition of distributed, autonomous and
cooperative member enterprises providing products and
services and achieving their business objectives through
effective collaboration (Rolstadas 1995, Kosanke
and Nell 1999, Jagdev and Thoben 2001). Martinez
et al. (2001) present a clear view of the relationship
between the extended enterprise and the virtual enter-
prise which outlines the evolution from one to the other
(see figure 2).
From figure 2, it can be seen that the evolution of
the virtual enterprise is based on the type of market and
the type of relationship between the enterprises in the
coalition. The partnership durability and control sys-
tems are lowest in the short-term VE, higher in the
consortium VE and at their maximum in the extended
enterprise. The degree of common strategy also
increases as the short-term VE moves though the
consortium stage to the extended enterprise. New
business models, are emerging based on this concept
and on the associated enabling technologies such as
intelligent agents and holons (Huang et al. 2002, Jarvis
et al. 2003). For example, Camarinha-Matos (2001)
presents a VE that addresses the issues of component
co-design in manufacturing industry. Extended and
Stabilisation of
Stabilisation of
market segmentation
(cost minimisation)
Stabilisation of
market segmentation
ortunist market
Figure 2. Extended and virtual enterprises (Martinez et al.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 243
virtual enterprises provide a basis for new eBusiness
models and are an important factor in understanding
the future of eBusiness. In recent years considerable
research has been conducted in the area of the forming
and managing of virtual organisations. Metso and
Kutvonen (2005) have developed a business-to-business
prototype that manages the business and technology
issues associated with managing virtual organisations.
With advances in grid computing and semantic web, and
as information and services become better defined, De
Roure et al. (2005) believe that computers and people
will be better able to work in cooperation and this will
support the formation of efficient virtual enterprises.
Wall et al. (2005) and Hunt et al. (2005) describe the
extended dynamic network in which dynamic networks
of enterprises combine to provide extended products
and services. In the future the authors expect that this
particular type of eBusiness model will become increas-
ingly important as more enterprises come to terms with
the business and technology challenges of the virtual
The line of demarcation between business models and
business applications is not always clear-cut. This is
illustrated by some enterprise management software
applications which, when implemented, require an
enterprise to change its business model. While the
installation of a new enterprise resource management
(ERP) system seems less dramatic that the previous
eBusiness model examples, the effort required in making
the change can be immense. The ERP software product
SAP/R3 ( provides a particularly
interesting example of this. During the lead up to Year
2000 (Y2K) many companies realised that their legacy
systems would not be capable of handling the date issues
caused by only having two digits to represent years.
Many large and medium enterprises replaced their
existing legacy systems with SAP/R3, which is Y2K
compatible and also provides a scalable eBusiness
environment. For these enterprises the migration to
SAP was more than the implementation of a new ERP
application. In many cases it also required a complete
change in the way they did business as a new business
model was adopted. In these cases the new business
model dictates how the enterprise communicates
internally—for example, finances, human resources
and operations. The new business model also dictates
how the enterprise will communicate and integrate with
its suppliers and customers—typically by automated
digital means—and hence be classified as a new
eBusiness model.
From the analysis of the current literature it is clear
that the current set of models is only the beginning.
As technology innovations emerge so too will the
opportunity to create new business models. The level
of evolution of eBusiness through innovative models
will continue to change the way that business as a whole
is carried out.
1.3 Comparison of eBusiness applications and
eBusiness models
Does an enterprise implement a new eBusiness model or
does it apply technology to its existing model? Clearly
the answer depends on the individual scenario. As
discussed earlier, eBusiness models are not always the
solution. There may be parts of the current business
model that need to be revised to take advantage of
business opportunities. Equally, the implementation of a
number of eBusiness applications as part of a new
business model may provide a solution.
In table 2, the differences between eBusiness applica-
tions and eBusiness models are illustrated. Parallels can
be drawn between this and comparisons made by
Davenport during the business process re-engineering
(BPR) debate of the mid 1990s (Davenport 1993).
The use of eBusiness applications is analogous to
Davenport’s concept of ‘process improvement’ or
TQM (total quality management); eBusiness models
are analogous to ‘process innovation’ or BPR.
The degree to which an enterprise or group of
enterprises are willing to digitise their businesses
depends on their assessment of the risks and rewards
Table 2. eBusiness applications versus eBusiness models.
eBusiness applications:
Apply technology to parts of the
current enterprise model to realise
eBusiness models:
Using technology and mindset
changes create and apply a new
business model
Level of change Incremental Radical
Starting point Existing processes Clean slate
Typical scope Ranging from narrow (within
enterprises) to wide (inter-enterprise
Risk Moderate High
244 B. Wall et al.
associated with each decision. Enterprise decision
makers must be able to adopt strategies based on
structured information about their domain and the
factors that affect it.
2. Trends in eBusiness
The review of digital business outlined above allows the
formulation of another definition of digital business.
Digital business involves the application of digital media
and communication technologies to improve existing
business applications and to implement innovative
eBusiness models. At an enterprise and inter-enterprise
level it requires visionary attitudes and strategic
awareness at upper management, and mind-set
flexibility throughout the extended organisation.
In this section of the paper the evolution of digital
business and future trends are examined. The evolution
of eBusiness continues as a result of the push-and-pull
effect of the drivers and the enablers respectively. The
key eBusiness drivers and the enablers are presented in
the next two sections and then a number of current
views on the future trends in this area are discussed.
2.1 eBusiness enablers
At the most fundamental level, there are two main
eBusiness enablers. Firstly the constant evolution of
digital media and communication technology enables
the creation of new eBusiness applications and models.
Without this technology there would be no ‘e’ in
eBusiness. Secondly, the willingness of businesses to
try new technology gives the technologies a foothold in
the business world and, if seen to be successful, leads
to the eventual take up of these technologies on a
wider scale.
2.1.1 Digital and communication technology enablers
Recent developments in digital media and communica-
tion technologies continue to play a major enabling
role in eBusiness. For example:
Microprocessor speeds and price reduction
Moore’s law has become widely accepted in digital
technology circles. In 1965 Moore predicted that the
number of transistors per square inch on an integrated
circuit would double on a yearly basis (Moore 1965).
This has slowed to an 18-month basis but even so these
increases in processor speed have contributed very
significantly to the evolution of digital business allowing
transactions to be processed increasingly quickly.
Bandwidth and communication speed
The speed of a computer is one of its most important
features. However, its ability to communicate quickly
with other computers is of equal importance. Recent
developments in bandwidth technology have allowed
computers to communicate almost instantaneously
with one another. Lal (2002) provides empirical evidence
showing the relationship between bandwidth and
successful ICT which demonstrates that reliable,
high-speed and cheap communication networks are
essential for successful eBusiness. In telecommunica-
tions, broadband allows computers to exchange more
data in the same amount of time, facilitating the use
of multimedia as well as the transfer of huge quantities
of information.
Mobile communications
Recent developments in mobile communication tech-
nologies have created new digital business opportunities,
such as global positioning system (GPS) navigation
systems, as well as adding a mobile dimension to existing
businesses, such as email access over mobile phones.
Kumar (Kumar and Zahn 2003) lists some of the
functions that can be expected from mobile devices such
as mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
He expects technology such as bar code scanning and
health monitoring to be integrated into mobile phones
in the near future. Wireless database access servers
(WDBAS) will aid the development of wireless applica-
tions used in PDAs. It is envisaged that this area will
continue to contribute significantly to enabling digital
business in the short and long term. In particular with
third generation (3G) coming online, it is expected that
broadband, wireless Internet coverage will become
available extensively.
Internet security
Internet security is both an enabler and an inhibitor of
eBusiness. Security technologies such as cryptography
and biometrics have been in use by organisations such as
the US Department of Defense (DOD) for some time.
These robust security technologies are now being
applied to business systems, especially those connected
to the Internet (e.g. public key infrastructure (PKI),
single sign-on solutions and digital signatures).
However, due to the anonymous nature of the
Internet, there are trust issues associated with security
which must be addressed first.
Semantic web-enabled web services
According to Fensel and Bussler (2002), the aim of
the semantic web is to provide intelligent access
A review of eBusiness and digital business 245
to heterogeneous, distributed information, enabling
software products to mediate between user needs
and the information sources available. Web services,
as described by an IBM tutorial (Jacob et al. 2004), are
‘self-contained, self-describing, modular applications
that can be published, located and invoked across the
Web’. The current problem with the notion of web
services is that there are insufficient formal descriptions
of these services and no support available to process the
information associated with web services, apart from
bringing the human programmer into the loop.
Semantic web-enabled web services provide the formal
means or mechanisation by which these services can be
identified, configured, compared and combined. Huge
potential is envisaged when these services are applied to
digital business from the integration of inter-enterprise
applications as outlined by Huang and Chung (2003) to
the useful deployment of intelligent software agents.
Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity)—public wireless LANs
This is a recent phenomenon whereby a radio signal can
beam Internet connections up to 100 metres from an
antenna providing a broadband (11 Mbps) ‘hot spots’
which allow computers equipped with Wi-Fi receptors
to log on to the Net. It is based on the 802.11b standard
from the IEEE and has the potential to be used in many
aspects of digital business such as, for example, package
scanning information directly on to a network. Wi-Fi
uses the security architecture called wired equivalent
privacy (WEP) which currently has many problems,
including signals that may not be encrypted and weak
security keys (Drew 2003). This can result in the
potential for unauthorised users accessing the company
network. Assuming that these security issues are
addressed, Wi-Fi has potential applications in academia
(Drew 2003) as well as in commercial centres such as
airports and hotels.
Extended Internet technologies
It is expected that technologies such as sensors and
radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags will provide
companies with new business opportunities. According
to Radjou (2002) these sensors and tags will allow firms
to track in real time the identity, location and status of
globally distributed physical assets. The integration of
RFIDs with Internet technologies provides opportu-
nities for comprehensive tracking and monitoring of
goods along a supply chain.
Mobile intelligent agents
Where web services are the applications that are
distributed across the web, mobile intelligent agents
are the software applications that search for, facilitate
linkage and use the web services. These agents can be
enabled, as with web services by the use of the semantic
web. There are some very useful applications of
semantic web enabled intelligent agents in the domain
of digital business. For example, in the formation of
virtual and extended enterprises, the intelligent agent
can be used to establish the links and provide the
starting point for enterprise integration. Ghiassi (2003)
demonstrates how mobile intelligent agents are used in
synchronised supply chain management (SSCM) by
providing general goals and directions centrally while
allowing the execution process to benefit from an
Internet-based decentralised system.
2.1.2 Business enablers
The attitudes and behaviours of the business community
have an enabling, and sometimes a disabling, effect on
eBusiness. The level of technical knowledge that exists in
the community as a whole with regard to a domain (such
as eBusiness) can have an enabling effect. The risks that
enterprises are prepared to take with regard to new
technologies determines the degree of take-up and
spread of eBusiness. Also the level of trust that exits in
a supply network will determine the level of collabora-
tion and synchronisation that can exist.
Knowledge level
The level of inherent knowledge with regard to
eBusiness that exists in a community will have
an effect on the ability of an enterprise to embrace
and implement an eBusiness solution. The level of
knowledge available affects the quality of decisions
made. These are the kinds of decisions that may
determine whether or not an eBusiness initiative is
undertaken. Thus knowledge can be seen as an
eBusiness enabler.
Risk taking
Prior to the demise there was an unrealistically
high degree of confidence across many business sectors
that eCommerce and eBusiness solutions were going to
allow them to pursue every business opportunity and
address every business threat. Since then companies
have become more cautious and realistic. There are
many good eBusiness applications and models that will
work if applied to the appropriate scenario. To have the
so-called ‘killer application’ is the aim of both the
software developers and business end users. As with all
business decisions there are elements of risk involved in
taking on new technology.
246 B. Wall et al.
Collaborative trust
Trust is a huge factor for enterprises that are collabor-
ating and synchronising their operations. Individual
enterprises must be able to see returns for their effort
and must not be put in at a competitive disadvantage
because of the information that they share with a supply
chain partner. According to Shankar (2002) the
stakeholders (e.g. customers, suppliers and distributors)
involved in a supply network may have concerns related
to the confidentiality, access, consistency and reliability
of the information that they receive and transmit.
So-called ‘collaborative commerce’ or c-commerce
becomes more difficult as the number of players
involved increases. Attaining mutual trust at each
node of a large supply network is a critical factor in
the successful implementation of c-commerce.
2.2 eBusiness drivers
For the purpose of this paper a driver is defined as a
factor that impels business to act or react. Technology
becomes irrelevant if enterprises are not prepared to
adopt it. Drivers are a ‘push’ factor in determining if
technology will be adopted. Pressures on enterprises to
change and adapt to new situations are nothing new.
Browne et al. (1995) identified factors that placed
pressures on manufacturing enterprises. They argued
that globalisation, the removal of trade barriers,
increasing demand for customisation and supply chain
management issues were among the key concerns for
manufacturing enterprises. Interestingly, a similar set of
drivers emerged from a recent workshop carried out by
the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
(IPTS) where the perceived impact of e-commerce
technologies on the future development of value chains
was explored. The workshop produced some note-
worthy results with respect to the drivers of this area
(Desruelle 2001):
General environment drivers
These refer to the factors that affect all enterprises
worldwide regardless of their business domain or sector.
Globalisation/liberalisation and profits are increased as
a result. Globalisation and trade liberalisation drive
firms to innovate in order to be in a better position to
make or remain in business. Globalisation has pre-
cipitated a more dynamic, complex and demanding
environment for eBusiness (Cheung, Lee et al. 2003).
Both of these factors also increase communication needs
among companies.
Policies: Regulations, industrial policy, environmental
policy. In the context of public safety and environmental
sustainability, e.g. the precautionary factor and required
traceability of products which involves processing and
storing a large amount of information for long periods
of time.
Inherited industrial structure. Due to the networking
character of eBusiness technologies. This also encom-
passes, for example, cultural factors, inter-firm organi-
sational constraints or barriers to adoption by
Competitive and sectoral drivers
Within a business sector there are factors that act to
push or pull the associated enterprises in the direction of
Inclusion/exclusion/dominance. New consumer buying
habits and the changing business climate are driving
businesses large and small to take engage in eBusiness.
Large companies often lead B2B developments for an
entire value chain.
Competitive positioning. Many firms adopt eBusiness
because their main competitors use it. Some firms are
also forced to adopt technologies in order to keep their
customers. Jelassi and Leenen (2003) illustrate how
Ducati were able to vastly improve their competitive
position by being one of the first motorbike producers
to offer their product for sale over the Internet.
Inter-enterprise level issues
Enterprises that are part of a particular supply chain are
finding new ways to define their interrelationships based
on advances in digital media technology.
Lock-in. Firms see the opportunity to strengthen
existing ties with business partners. eBusiness can help
to strengthen preferred long-term relationships with
suppliers (and to create lock-in situations). This driver
has obvious connections to the collaborative trust
enabler outlined in section 2.1.2.
Customer relationship management. Technology is seen
as the means to address the lack of customer knowledge.
It can also play a role in accessing new markets.
Value chain co-ordination. This driver refers to the use of
technologies to better manage relationships and infor-
mation exchange along the value chain. This factor is
examined again in more detail in section 2.3.
Enterprise level issues
Individual enterprises are driven by their need to remain
competitive. New strategies can be considered because
of the progress that has taken place in technology.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 247
Cost reduction. This is a major motivation for compa-
nies to engage in eBusiness. Costs are reduced by
digitising the transaction and therefore reducing human
intervention and eliminating information redundancy.
Added value: Quality/speed. Firms expect innovations
will enable them to concentrate on high-value added
activities and to outsource low-value added ones.
Internally also, firms expect that e-commerce will
enable them to shift (human) resources to higher
value-added tasks.
The degree to which these drivers act on an individual
enterprise depends on the industry sector and the
relationship that it has with its suppliers and customers
along with its internal strategic decisions.
2.3 Future trends in eBusiness
In the previous two sections the factors that influence
eBusiness trends were examined. The push and pull
effects of the drivers and enablers continue to push
eBusiness in a number of directions. Prior to the digital
revolution of the 1990s, business had tended to be
typically slow moving, carefully planned and reasonably
predictable. Business trends are influenced by enter-
prises wishing to increase profits and shareholder value.
Businesses change in order to adapt to internal and
external influences—but, typically, their ultimate goal is
to continue making a profit and increase the value of the
Changes to technology happen quickly and, as
discussed in the previous section, have a different set
of drivers and enablers than businesses. The rate of
evolution of digital technology has increased signifi-
cantly in the past 10 years, more so than the rate of
evolution of business practices. The difference between
the two is a reflection of the rate of ‘take-up’ of new
technologies and their progress towards becoming
accepted as standards.
Authors have created specific frameworks within
which to view the future of eBusiness. Timmers (1999)
views eBusiness in terms of the level of functional
integration and the degree of innovation (see figure 3),
where an enterprise has a business model that is
determined by its rating based on these two parameters.
The models in this classification reflect from lower left
to upper right a kind of eBusiness trend, starting with
the low degree of innovation and single functional
electronic shop and finishing with the value chain
integrator which requires a high degree of innovation
and provides integration for many functions. Timmers’
view of the eBusiness domain even back in 1999 already
recognised the importance of integrating the players in
the value chain.
Shunk’s (2003) framework reflects his supply-chain
views (see figure 4) which are summarised below.
The value chain is represented by suppliers, the ‘firm’,
typically an OEM and customers. The first stage is that
the enterprise has the ability to exchange information
internally. It must be capable of exchanging information
seamlessly between its own departments before it can
Figure 3. Classification of Internet business models (Timmers 1999).
248 B. Wall et al.
do so with its suppliers and customers. ERP systems
promise a high level of internal integration and many
enterprises are still striving to achieve this. External
collaboration takes place when an enterprise can
integrate some of its supply scheduling and management
functions with its customers and suppliers while ensur-
ing that its own internal applications are already
integrated. End-to-end synchronisation can be achieved
when there is supply and demand stream visibility.
However, this state requires cost-effective modules to be
available for all the small and medium enterprise nodes,
but even more importantly it requires a willingness on
the part of supply network players to share information
and knowledge (Shunk 2003). Technology can only
enable eBusiness to a certain limited extent but to take it
to the level of synchronisation described by Shunk it
requires trust. The Gartner Group (McNee 2000)
predicted that, until at least 2005, most collaborations
would only be one-off interactions with close trading
partners and that trust issues would hamper the rapid
adoption of collaboration models.
Kalakota and Robinson (2001) view eBusiness from
the perspective of competitive status and classify five
eBusiness ‘destinations’ based on a continuum ranging
from competitive necessity through to competitive
advantage. In table 3 the five destinations are listed
and described. It should be noted that while the five
destinations are discrete states in which an enterprise
could exist, they also represent a trend or evolution.
This ranges from the least evolved first state to the most
sophisticated fifth state which represents the consolida-
tion of companies into true inter-enterprise communities
whose members share common goals and objectives
across and among enterprises.
Malhotra (2001) offers an eBusiness model based on
an ‘end-to-end’ business infrastructure which is built
around information value chains and supply chains.
He sees the increasing need to integrate across extended
inter-enterprise value chains as providing the
impetus for better fusion of ERP applications. Caskey
et al. (2001) identified inter-company integration as
ranging from an informational through to operational
cooperation. Informational cooperation involves, for
example, the exchange of prices, product availability
or order status through the Internet. Operational
cooperation requires tighter integration and the
coordination of activities, such as inventory allotment
and forecasting.
scheduling &
Fab/sort Assembly Test Box &
geo hub
Execution Scheduling
Collaborative strategic Plg
scheduling &
Integrated factory,
materials/warehouse/transportation execution
Demand and supply planning
Integrated SN detailed
scheduling for
Strategic business planning
Supplier Firm Customer
execution Factory
Long range business/capacity planning Long range
Long range planning
Figure 4. Supply network optimisation (Shunk 2003).
A review of eBusiness and digital business 249
The Integrated Manufacturing Technology
Roadmapping Initiative (IMTI) (Team 1999) illustrates
the relevance of enterprise integration. The authors of
this report have classified the results of their studies
based on the level of integration over time (see figure 5).
They expect that ultimately enterprises will achieve what
they term ‘distributed enterprise integration’ which will
allow flexible instant partnering, seamless communica-
tion and virtual electronic alliances.
Merli’s (2001) views have much in common with the
views of the authors reported above. The structure he
uses sees eBusiness evolution in terms of the role of
eBusiness and the impact on the business (see figure 6).
He sees the first evolutionary step as ‘channel
Table 3. eBusiness destinations (adapted from Kalakota and Robinson 2001).
eBusiness destination Goal Motto Competitive
Cross-functional business unit Produce dependable, consistent, quality
products and services at the lowest
possible cost by automating existing
functions and tasks.
‘Focus on quality’
Strategic business unit Serve the customers from order acquisi-
tion to fulfilment by consolidating
supply chain functions.
‘Serve our customers’
Integrated enterprise Become highly responsive, flexible and
cost efficient by integrating internal
supply chains and achieving preferred
partner status with key suppliers.
‘Drive business efficiency’
Extended enterprise Profitable growth through extended
supply chain integration providing
customer-tailored products, services
and value-added information.
‘Create market value’
Inter-enterprise community Market leadership through complex
collaborative arrangements and
common goal sharing.
‘Be a market leader’
Figure 5. Technology paths to integrated enterprises (Team 1999).
250 B. Wall et al.
enhancement’ where an enterprise publishes a web-site
and/or provides a catalogue where orders can be placed.
In this scenario eBusiness plays the role of an enabler.
Digital transactions are enabled providing a tactical
advantage to the enterprise. Similarly at the second
stage in this evolution ‘value chain integration’, the role
of eBusiness is to enable procurement, supply chain
management and logistics to be carried out through
digital technology, thus providing a tactical advantage
to the enterprises taking part. The third scenario
transforms the way that enterprises do business in that
the value chain is re-designed and new value chains are
created. So called ‘hyper-efficient’ enterprises in this
scenario outsource their non-core activities and concen-
trate on core competencies. The final step in this
evolution is strategic transformation through conver-
gence and re-configuration of business domains and
traditional industry borders.
Merli (2001) claims that when convergence is achieved
the borders between industries become less defined.
Product and services will integrate and the role of
players can be different depending on the product,
market and/or time. This kind of scenario was described
above as the ‘extended product’.
The globalisation of businesses, which can now be
managed through a network, is a contributing driver of
this scenario. The diversity of the products and services
and the entry of players from previously unrelated
industries cause the amount and nature of competition
to increase and diversify. The customer is the ultimate
beneficiary in this situation.
Despite using different frameworks to view eBusiness,
researchers appear to more or less agree. Timmer’s
earlier predictions on the integration of the value chain
are supported by Shunk’s expectations of external
collaboration. Shunk’s end-to-end synchronisation con-
cepts are further supported in the models put forward by
IMTI (‘distributed enterprise integration’) Kalakota
(‘extended enterprise’) and Merli (‘industry
A combination of the frameworks put forward by
these authors, and the concepts of eBusiness applica-
tions and models described earlier in this paper
has allowed us to develop a structure to view the
evolution of digital business in which past, present
and future trends can be seen in relation to one another
(see figure 7).
As illustrated in figure 7 the trends in eBusiness are
mapped in terms of ‘the degree of technical innovation’
and the ‘change in mindset of industry players’.
Emerging technologies do not automatically lead to
eBusiness applications or models. The technologies may
create the eBusiness applications and form the basis of
new eBusiness models. The degree of technical innova-
tion is relative to time. Advanced and new technology,
particularly in the IT industry tends to become
commonplace in a short space of time. Moore’s Law
(Moore 1965) is a case in point. Emerging advanced
digital technologies migrate over time into eBusiness
applications and/or form the basis of new eBusiness
models at which stage they are effectively no longer
‘beyond state-of-the-art’ and by which stage a new
emerging technology has displaced it from its position as
‘highly innovative’.
Here eBusiness applications are seen as enablers of the
current business models allowing data and information
to be transferred, stored and used in a more efficient
way. The eBusiness models transform the business
domains to which they are applied but not usually
without a considerable mindset change on the part of
the enterprises involved. Companies need to plan their
strategy for eBusiness but the evidence seems to indicate
that organisations are generally not engaging in any
formal strategic planning (Saban 2001). Also, trust
issues appear to be hampering the adoption of
collaboration models, although long-term networks
may serve to forge trusting collaborations among
enterprises. In general it seems that, in order to be
successful, companies that engage in the implementation
of a new eBusiness model must be prepared to plan their
strategies and to change how they carry out their
3. A conceptual model for understanding eBusiness
In previous sections developments in e-Business were
analysed and compared. This demonstrates that
eBusiness is wide-ranging and complex with many
different meanings. In this section a model is presented
which conceptualises the trends in eBusiness in a way
that is understandable to both technical and business
Degree of change to business model
Role of E-Business
Enabler Transformer
Value chain
Figure 6. Four types of eBusiness enabled transformations.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 251
3.1 Who needs to understand digital business?
There needs to be a common understanding of digital
business between the technical or ICT people
and business or management personnel. Technical and
business people typically do not use the same vocabu-
lary! If an enterprise seeks to exploit new technical
developments then it needs to understand where in its
current business model these new developments fit. For
competitive reasons it is important that the enterprise
understands the implications of the new developments
quickly. In spite of recent digital business advances and
aside from the emerging eBusiness models, the business
model for selling products to customers remains largely
the same. Product enquiries, quotations, orders, order
confirmations, shipping information, invoices and other
such transactions typically take place in a similar way
regardless of the type of industry. Information technol-
ogists have created applications and models for many of
these traditional transactions and activities.
A conceptual model provides a basis for describing
where new digital components fit in the business model
and as such provides a bridge between the business
domain experts and the technical analyst and software
3.2 Conceptual model—bridging the gap between
technology and business
A conceptual business model provides the business
community and IT developers with a common map or
understanding where new ideas, concepts and develop-
ments can be related to commonly accepted business
There are many examples of business models. Porter’s
value chain model (Porter 1985) is probably the best
known and widely used model for representing the
enterprise. Porter suggests, through his value chain
concept, that the activities for transforming raw
materials and other inputs into finished goods can be
analysed as a collection of complementary and sequen-
tial tasks, each adding value to the final product (see
figure 8). The value chain, according to Porter, is
divided into primary and secondary elements. The
primary activities are directly involved with adding
value to inputs and transforming them into goods or
services desired by customers. The secondary activities
are necessary to support or enable the effective
functioning of the primary activities. His model is
useful for analysing the internal activities of an
enterprise and provides a structure that has become an
almost de-facto standard over the past two decades. One
of the failings of the model is its inability to look beyond
the internal workings of the enterprise. This makes it
unsuitable for examining in detail the value chains and
value networks associated with the emerging extended
and virtual enterprises.
The extended enterprise business model looks beyond
the ‘four walls’ of the factory and recognises the
importance of viewing the suppliers and customers as
an integral part of the system. This model adapted from
(Zhang 1998) (see figure 9), was used in a number of
Degree of technical innovation
eBusiness application
eBusiness model
No change
Brokerage model
Extended/virtual enterprise
Direct manufacturing model
Semantic web &
semantic web services
Mobile agents
RFID tags
Postpone/warehouse manufacturing
Extended products
Figure 7. Relationship between eBusiness technologies, applications and models.
252 B. Wall et al.
projects in CIMRU in the early 1990s. It is a simple
model that shows where activities take place in relation
to business functions in a manufacturing and distribu-
tion environment. While useful for viewing the extended
enterprise, the model lacks the scope and detail for
mapping the many new and emerging facets of
Weele (2001) put forward some interesting perspec-
tives on supply chain management using the model
described in figure 10. By placing the supply chain in a
line he positioned the various activities and functions in
the relevant position below them. Weele’s model, while
clarifying the traditional activities of the extended
supply chain, does not have the scope for detail that is
required in relation to the raft of new eBusiness
The eBusiness conceptual model put forward by
Thoben et al. (2002) is comprehensive and its star-like
structure illustrates the many facets of eBusiness in an
understandable way (see figure 11). They view digital
business as having seven dimensions:
(i) application categories,
(ii) principles,
(iii) standards,
(iv) strategies,
(v) application domains,
(vi) enablers and
(vii) basic conditions.
The acronyms used in this particular model demonstrate
the proliferation of new terminology that has come
about as a result of the digital revolution. These are
elaborated by the BRIDGES roadmap (CIMRU 2002)
as follows:
.B2E:Business-to-employee: Business processes
between employees within a company. Here the
focus lies on the integration of the employees in the
trading processes.
.A2A:Administration-to-administration: A2A char-
acterises trading processes between countries.
.B2A:Business-to-administration; A2B:
Administration-to-business: The government is
obliged to conduct procurement processes by
applying a pre-defined pattern.
.M2M:Machine-to-machine: Machine to machine
communication and data exchange within or
among a network of enterprises. Production
machines, mobile devices, IT infrastructures or
simple applications can be considered as machines.
.B2B:Business-to-business: B2B takes place between
enterprises with a special focus on complex value
logistics Operations Outbound
Firm infrastructure
Human resource management
Technology devlopment
Profit margin
Profit margin
Figure 8. Porter’s value chain model (Porter 1985).
Product & process
Production planning &
Customer driven
design co-ordination
Customer order
product models
Vendor supply
Figure 9. Extended enterprise business model.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 253
.B2C:Business-to-consumer: These transactions in
this category are mainly retail transactions with
individual shoppers.
.C2C:Consumer-to-consumer: C2C can be defined
as the Internet-based trade between different
consumers. In addition, several auction sites allow
individuals to place items up for auction.
.C2A:Consumer-to-administration: Enable the cus-
tomer to have Internet access to defined public
facilities. There is no real commercial relationship.
The dimensions used in Thoben’s model are shown in
relation to one another and provide an excellent
overview of eBusiness. However, the model lacks a
connection to the existing business model of the
extended enterprise and as such is not applicable to
the interface area between business and technology.
Merli (2001) looks at the interactions and inter-
communications of an enterprise with its customer and
suppliers and describes some of the activities that take
place in this space (see figure 12). He also includes the
Figure 11. Conceptual eBusiness model (Thoben et al. 2002).
Figure 10. Weele’s perspective on supply chain management (Weele 2001).
254 B. Wall et al.
kinds of activities that are carried out and applications
that are available related to the relevant functions. For
example, online order management and vendor mana-
ged inventory are associated with the outbound logistics
function of the enterprise.
Merli’s model is useful for positioning the eBusiness
applications and activities in an enterprise but it does
not have the supply/value chain aspects required for
illustrating the interactions in the extended enterprise.
RosettaNet (2002) is a ‘self-funded, non-profit
consortium of major information technology, electronic
components, semiconductor manufacturing and tele-
communications companies, which are working to
create and implement industry-wide, open e-business
process standards’. The consortium plans to use these
standards for common eBusiness language, aligning
processes between supply chain partners on a global
basis. While most of the models that have
been presented so far in this paper are focused on
the inter-relationship of functions, the model used by
RosettaNet is based on the alignment of processes (see
figure 13).
Suppliers Customers
E-product life
Vendor (co-)
On-line order
planning, cross
(on-line supply
catalogue, ..)
Web-EDI, web
(demand data
Procurement Marketing
Figure 12. Value chain integration model (Merli 2001).
Design Forecast
•Design management • Collaborative forecasting
• Forecasted inventory mgmt.
Manufacturing WIP
Manufacturing work orde
Global billing
ship from stock
Order management
Product catalogue info
Direct Ship
Ship notice
Figure 13. Rosetta net eBusiness process alignment (RosettaNet 2002).
A review of eBusiness and digital business 255
Figure 13 shows the activities and information
associated with the various supply chain processes.
For example, collaborative forecasting and forecasted
inventory management are both part of the forecast
RosettaNet has gained wide acceptance among
companies in the high-tech industry. Its aim is to
create a common language and open processes that will
allow collaborative trading among integrated enter-
prises. The concept model in figure 13 goes some way
towards representing the processes surrounding
ordering, planning, payment and shipping but it does
not provide the scope for representing the wide range of
new eBusiness applications and models in a graphical
The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR)
model has been developed to describe the business
activities associated with all phases of satisfying a
customer’s demand (Supply-Chain-Council 2003). The
model itself contains several sections and is organised
around the five primary management processes of
‘Plan’, ‘Source’, ‘Make’, ‘Deliver’, and ‘Return’
Internal or External
Your com
Internal or External
Source Source
Return Return
Source DeliverMake
Plan PlanPlan
ReturnReturn Return
Figure 14. SCOR model.
Source Source Source Source
Buy Buy
Search Search Search Search
Service Service Service Service
Deliver Deliver Deliver Deliver
Return Return
Return Return
Market Market Market Market
Service Service Service Service
Plan Plan
Supplier Customer
Plan Plan
Make Make
Sell Sell
Figure 15. Extended SCOR conceptual model.
256 B. Wall et al.
(shown in figure 14). By representing supply chains
using these process building blocks SCOR can be used
to describe both simple and complex supply chains with
a common set of definitions. As a result, disparate
industries can be linked to describe the depth and
breadth of virtually any supply chain.
The SCOR model has associated with it a number of
tools and metrics that are used by exponents of the
model as part of their re-engineering activities. The
model recognises the symmetry that exists between
enterprises in that the same processes exist and interlink
between each link in the supply chain. The scope of the
reference model is to look as far as the customer’s
customer and the supplier’s supplier. This comparatively
broad covering of up-stream and downstream nodes is
consistent with the concepts of extended enterprise and
makes the SCOR model useful for analysing inter-
enterprise relationships and common applications. The
SCOR model, with its associated metrics and tools, is
gradually emerging as a standard way of describing the
supply chain. Its emergence as a de facto standard
makes it particularly useful in that it has already become
accepted and understood by a wide range of practi-
tioners. The SCOR model, as the name suggests, only
looks explicitly at operational activities and does not
address issues such as sales, marketing and product
development. In this regard it is not particularly useful
for analysing the eBusiness environment but provides an
extensible structure where other functions can be
The SCOR and Porter’s value chain models are used
by the authors as the principal bases for the ‘extended
SCOR’ model (see figure 15), which also takes some of
the features from the other models presented in this
section and provides a structure on which eBusiness
applications can be mapped.
The model includes the existing SCOR building
blocks of ‘Plan’, ‘Make’, ‘Source’, ‘Deliver’ and
‘Return’ but also includes blocks ‘Buy’, ‘Sell’,
‘Market’, ‘Search’, ‘Service’ and ‘Develop Product’.
Figure 16. Mapping eBusiness trends on to the conceptual model.
A review of eBusiness and digital business 257
In the same way as the ‘Source’ and ‘Deliver’ blocks of
the original SCOR model connect at the interface, the
‘Buy’ block of one enterprise connects to the ‘Sell’ block
of the adjacent enterprise and the ‘Search’ block
connects to the ‘Market’ block (the term market in
this case meaning the verb rather than the noun). While
the authors recognise that simplicity is one of the
strengths of the original SCOR model, the extension of
the model becomes necessary in order to capture the
fuller value chain.
The extended SCOR model depicted in figure 15 can
be used to map current eBusiness applications and
models and can also be used to position and possibly
anticipate future eBusiness initiatives. This benefits both
the business user, from the point of view of under-
standing the eBusiness domain and the technology
developer, who gets an indication of the business areas
that can be targeted for potential development.
In figure 16 some of the eBusiness trends, predictions
and current practices that have been outlined thus far
in this paper are mapped on to the extended SCOR
4. Conclusions
The subject of digital business or eBusiness is complex
and far-reaching. By definition it includes aspects of
technology and business. It draws expertise from the
business and the technology community to evolve and
improve. In this paper, definitions of digital business
have been examined and a new definition has been put
forward. The subject has been looked at from the
perspective of applications, models, technology,
enablers and drivers. Current and future trends have
been reviewed. An extended SCOR model is developed
and offered as a way to map the current eBusiness
applications and models and can also be used to
position and possibly anticipate future eBusiness initia-
tives. This conceptual model is also used to demonstrate
how the many new eBusiness terms can be framed
together in a way that allows business and technology
analysts to achieve a common understanding of the
This material is based upon works supported by the
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A review of eBusiness and digital business 259
Brian Wall is Operations Manager at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, National University
of Ireland Galway. He previously worked as a Project Manager at the Computer Integrated
Manufacturing Research Unit (CIMRU) also at NUI Galway. He holds a BE in Industrial
Engineering (1989), a MEngSc in Industrial Engineering and Information Systems (1991) and a PhD
in Engineering (2004). From 1991 to mid-1994 he worked with Pharm-Allergan in Germany, as a
planning manager. In 1994 he took up a position in the area of supply chain management with
Microsoft European Operations Centre in Dublin where he worked for five years. While there he was
involved in implementing a number of supply chain management initiatives with particular focus on
the areas of forecasting and distributed requirements. While working in CIMRU (from 2001 to 2004)
he was responsible for their participation in a number of EU projects, working closely with the SME
participants on user requirements and concentrating his research efforts in the areas of e-Business,
supply chain management, business process reengineering and enterprise modelling. His current
research interest is in the practical application of the semantic web to supply/value chain issues.
Harinder Jagdev graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in Mechanical
Engineering in 1974. After working for two years as a production engineer at Mercedes Benz, he
joined UMIST, where he gained his MSc and PhD in Manufacturing Technology from Victoria
University of Manchester. Since 1980 he has researched for, and been consultant to, many
organisations in Europe. He is also very active in the EU-funded research programmes, both as a
proposal and project reviewer on behalf of the Commission and member of the research consortia.
He is the editor of the journal Computers in Industry and also serves the editorial board of Production
Planning & Control.
Jim Browne is Registrar and Deputy President of the National University of Ireland Galway, as well
as the founder of the Computer Integrated Manufacturing Research Unit (CIMRU) there. He has
many years experience of working in applied research and development, including extensive
experience of EU and industrially funded projects. His research interests are in the design, analysis,
modelling and operation of extended and virtual enterprises, focusing in particular on supply chain
management aspects. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from NUI, Galway and PhD and DSc
degrees in Engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He
has published extensively, including books such as Production Management Systems:A CIM
Perspective (Addison-Wesley 1998) and Shop Floor Control Systems:From Design to Implementation
(Chapman & Hall 1991).
260 B. Wall et al.
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