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Importance of e-business. 3
Relevance of study. 3
Scope of report 3
Organisational background. 4
Business of www.avava.in. 4
Overview of report 4
Business model of www.avava.in. 5
Live education delivery. 5
Financial services delivery. 6
Analysis of two business. 6
Online value proposition. 7
Online revenue model 7
Customer and relationship management 8
Analysis of website design and structure. 8
Digital business or electronic business or Internet business can be defined as the introduction of information and communication technologies to support the activities of business organisations. Commonly organisations using information technology to deliver products and services or in assisting the delivery are being referred to as e-business solutions which are innovations or implementation of digital information systems (Chaffey, 2006). Web sites are the most profound and visible form of e-business applications where information is delivered to the customers about the products and services as well as providing assistance in the delivery mechanisms.
Many of the conventional business practices have been overturned due to the adoption of e-business and e-commerce. In the developed world, many companies have established their presence in the market without a conventional footprint and only having their presence in the online world. This has presented significant opportunities for small and large scale organisations to compete in a global marketplace without the barriers of geography and time, providing convenience to the customers. According to Currie, (2004), the disruptive Internet technologies have the characteristics of reach, the richness and affiliation. The Internet enables the reach of the business without geographic limitations, in a detailed manner with interactivity and customisation along with an effective link with the partners of the business.
Although much has been written about the ability of e-business services to strategically shift the fundamental concepts of the present business models; in practice several e-businesses have wound up during the dot-com bubble. However and there are more number of optimists than pessimist who predicts the advancement of technology and its application to businesses providing significant advantages to the companies and the customers.
Electronic commerce is the transactions conducted through the Internet whether it is the purchase of products and services or information exchange. When analysing the digital business management strategy of an organisation, it is necessary to understand the models adopted by various companies from simple information delivery to substantial transaction ability. E-business is the integration of information and communication technologies with the activities of the business organisation. The present report, undertakes to critically evaluate the concepts of e-business and the modern practices by looking at www.avava.in which is an online “live” education, training solution and portfolio management institution in India.
Avava (www.avava.in) provides online courses “in India and overseas” to individuals, institutions and professionals mainly in the field of technical analysis of capital markets and commodity markets. Technical analysis is a form of or a system of trading adopted by individuals and institutions to trade in the stock markets. The author has taken a short-term course about technical training from the organisation and was impressed with the business model adopted by the organisation, however scaling of the business with the present business model is under scepticism.
The company not only provides online courses delivered live by tutors through Google talk but also acts as brokerage and portfolio of manager for individuals. On the website of the company, several links indicate the different type of services provided by the organisation. The company claims to provide market related information such as research reports, premarket calls on trading, short-term trading calls, intraday trading calls, medium and long term trading calls etc. on a periodical basis for a price. The information is delivered to the customer’s e-mail periodically and the payments are through either PayPal or direct to the bank accounts of the company. When analysing the number of courses provided, it is seen that several of the courses have indicated whereas the actual number of courses are seen to be limited. There is detailed information about the structure of the courses, the timings etc. There is also a testimonials page on their site which indicates satisfied customers who have taken the services of online courses as well as trading calls from the company.
In the following sections, the business model of the company is evaluated in order to understand the value proposition and the revenue generation. It is also necessary to understand the customer relationship management through the website. Finally the recommendations are generated for improving the e-business model and the structure adopted by the company.
The main business model of the company is providing services to the customers and mainly to individual customers and hence has a business to consumer model. Although the company claims to have relationship with organisations and institutions, the website does not indicate sufficient links to satisfy the claim of a business to business model. When analysing the company, it has divided the business based on the services of education delivery and financial services to the customers. According to Bocij, Chaffer, Hickie and Greasley, (2006), the business models of such online education service providers are based on a 1) free website without revenue generation directly, 2) providing software for self-learning and 3) self-developed content generation.
However the business model of the company is based on synchronous tutoring which according to Currie, (2004), is the scheduled online tutoring. Moreover Li, (2006), have indicated that such kind of live tutoring can be only based on demand and supply conditions and hence the education services provided by the company is based on on-demand factors. Since the website is acting as an information delivery mechanism along with providing the individuals to transact or purchase the services, it can be said that the utilisation of information technology through the website is limited.
The tutors of the company provide live tutoring on demand to the customers through Google talk on schedule after the service is purchased by the customer. On this basis it can be said that the company has been innovative as alternate information technologies such as live chat etc. are utilised by the company to deliver the services. Since it is not only the websites functionality and transaction ability which is evaluated, it is significant to understand the ability of the company to provide satisfactory service or education to the customers through this information and communication channel. From a personal point of view, (since the author has taken a short-term course from company) although there is significant level of convenience, the interactivity is limited because of a lack of face-to-face interaction. Moreover the convenience can also be said to be limited for the customer as it is based on a specific schedule.
However, the company is able to target individuals and institutions not only in the specific geographic area will be tutors are it or the company is located but throughout India and even based on the company claims, throughout the world. Hence it may be said that the utilisation of information and communication technology has enabled the company to expand its reach exponentially and provide convenience to the customers.
When analysing the financial services provided by the company, the information about the specific services provided are limited although the website indicates the services to traders of capital markets. Mostly trading based on technical analysis is done by the company and the experts provide advice on which stock to purchase and under what conditions. The services are delivered to the customers through email after it is purchased by the customers. In order to improve the customer relationship management, the company has provided a testimonials page where the indication is of satisfaction from a number of past customers. Moreover there are several links in the website which pertains to trading not only in stocks, equities and derivatives but also in commodities.
Since the stock market trading requires volatile information delivery, the various charts and tables in the website has to be continuously updated and many of the other websites use real-time updating of the charts and tables. However the charts and tables indicated in the website of the company does not have any real-time or dynamic changes but rather being updated manually or on a day-to-day manner. Hence the customers are not able to get specific information on a real-time basis from the company through the website. The indication is that e-mail and direct communication methods are used by the company to deliver information to the customers.
Hence the website acts as a medium of delivering information about the services provided by the company rather than providing the services on a real-time basis. One of the constraints that could be faced by the company in terms of the education service delivery is the constraint of scalability. Since the tutors are only able to deliver courses to customers on a real-time basis, the number of such customers is limited based on the availability of tutors at the time schedule. However the financial information delivery can be scaled exponentially based on the customer satisfaction and the ability of the company to provide accurate information from which the customers can profit. As such business model would be based on the expertise of the employees of the company, the delivery of such information using information technology can add to the scalability of the business model.
While the previous section evaluated the business model of the company in general, according to Smith and Kidd, (2000), in order to arrive at an online business model, it is necessary to define the four components. The four components are the value proposition for the customers, online offering (either product or service or information), a unique, dependable resource system and finally the revenue model. Furthermore according to Canzer, (2005), the value proposition includes the considerations of segmenting, focusing on customer benefits and the resources available with the company to deliver the services of the product.
Based on the above considerations, the website does not seem to indicate any specific segmentation of the customers but the two verticals of the business are indicated in the website. The one vertical is the education service delivery and the other is the financial services delivery. On this basis it can be said that there is segmentation where the new customers are attracted to the company through the courses provided and then retained in the company with the continuous delivery of financial services.
Hence the company is able to provide value to the customers based on retaining the customers from the education vertical to the financial vertical. The benefits to the customers are the knowledge gained from the education services and enhanced through the financial services provided by the company. Although in practice, the author did not find any customer retention practices by the company, the website, since conveying information about the various services offered, can be said to indicate the different value propositions to the customers.
The revenue for the company is generated from the delivery of financial services and education services. The customers can order the delivery of financial services such as trading calls, research reports etc. through the website and payment can be done either through PayPal or through direct bank transfer. Apart from this there are several links provided in the website which indicates the strategy of generating revenue from advertisements although most of the links do not function properly. The company is able to generate or rather cater to a wider section of the potential customers through the website as it is able to provide information and attract the customers from different of office. The organisation may very well not have a conventional presence although an address is provided in the website. In fact the company can itself function based only through the website where the tutors and the experts are providing the services through the modern communication channels of Internet and telephone.
The customer relationship management is an important aspect to be considered for any online business as the interaction with the customers is very limited since the website is acting as an intermediary (Jackson, Harris and Eckersley, 2003). Hence Lee. (2009) have indicated that the website should be able to interact with the customer and suitable customisation can provide satisfaction to the customers about the ability of the company to deliver the benefits. The analysis of the website of the company does not indicate sufficient evidence to satisfy the customers when comparing with that of other websites. There is a testimonial section where past customers indicate overall satisfaction but the authenticity of such testimonials cannot be verified.
The company has an online demo link although not functioning. From personal experience the author has, the employees of the company have provided a demonstration of how the online live training courses will be provided through Google talk. Information related to the services of the company is provided a detailed manner and several charts, tables etc. along with several links are also provided in the website. There are links not only about the equities and commodities in India but also in worldwide markets although many of them are not functioning. The number of links and other tables and charts require that the company to update them on a regular basis but the real-time updating is not happening.
The analysis of the website of the company is conducted by comparing with similar other websites and the initial indication of the analysis is that the website of the company is faring poorly with that of the peers. The lack of real-time financial information about the stock prices and changing financial information is an important constraint. This indicates that the employees of the company are updating their site only on a periodical manner manually. There are several links, charts and tables provided in the website although most of them do not function and the authenticity of the information in others has to be verified by comparing to third parties. Hence the customer may not be able to truly depend on the information provided in the website as some of them have not been updated for years. There are numerous links on the web site which is not functioning properly and this could be a source of customers’ scepticism about the authenticity of information. Overall the website seems to have been designed with an initial view to providing information, but several links and charts have been added to the website in a haphazard manner thus cluttering the entire site. There is also no indication of any kind of search engine optimisation which has been done in the website.
One of the initial recommendations to improve the online is business model is to redesign the website with less number of links and to introduce real-time data about the movement of equity and commodity prices in the Indian market. Since the company is able to cater to a large segment of customers not only in its particular geography of operation, the second recommendation is to improve the search engine optimisation so that the specific services of financial information delivery can be delivered to those customers who are searching for such information and services. It is vital that the company should remove the clutter of information from the website and provide only relevant and reliable information. The segmentation of the customers can be directly indicated based on the two different verticals of the business such as education delivery and financial services delivery. The ability of the website to provide information to the customers can be improved by providing a specific portal to which the customers can login to get the required information about the movement of stock prices after making the payment.
Based on analysis of the website in conjunction with the business models or online business practices, it can be said that the model adopted by the company is of providing education and financial services with the help of modern information and communication technologies and have further scope in the future. However the scalability of the education services is limited because of the resource constraints of the company. The ability of the organisation to improve the delivery of financial services can be improved by providing direct links or registration portals within the websites rather than providing the information through alternate delivery mechanism such as e-mail and telephone. A customer can login to the website and collect the information which has either been paid before or after paying for the service. Overall the design of the website does not seem to attract many customers and the authenticity of information is also unsatisfactory. Hence it is recommended that the company redesigned website as per the recommendations provided above.
Any student requiring help in assignments or dissertations on the topic of Digital Business Management e-business can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also have a look at the way I work with the students on my home page – www.assignmentwriters.co.uk.