Yesterday a long-time friend and senior executive in the B2C space casually mentioned that, in his opinion, “e-Business” has become essentially just “Business”. He explained that since e-Business is now so widespread, so integrated into every aspect of day-to-day business, that the term “e-Business” has lost its relevance.
On the one hand, I can see where he is coming from. As e-Business has evolved, the focus has rightly moved more on the “business” part of e-business, and less on the technology or the “e” part of e-business. In other words: less fascination with the technology, and more focus on ROI and improving the bottom line. At ePath, we certainly agree with that perspective.
In addition, the Buzz around the e-Business concept has dropped. Looking at Google Trends for the term “e-Business” shows a dramatic decline in search activity related to the term since 2003.
But before we relegate e-Business to the “has-been” pile, consider why this trend has been dropping. As e-Business has evolved, new specialty areas under the umbrella of e-Business have emerged. Consider e-Commerce, Social Media, Search Engine Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Mobile Commerce, etc. These more specialized terms are getting the attention, generating growing interest and massive search activity. So eBusiness terminology is simply becoming more descriptive, more specific.
So, do we still need to differentiate between Business and e-Business in 2012?
The answer is absolutely YES!
Here are 3 big reasons:
- Fundamentally Different Business Models: Most traditional business have still not made a successful transition from “bricks & mortar” to “bricks & clicks”. Most organizations simply “port-over” their traditional business models to the online world. The result is often channel conflict, low-profit margins, and an undifferentiated customer experience. To take full advantage of the online opportunity, successful e-Businesses create innovative new business models that actually add substantial new value to the total customer experience.
- The onus on Innovation: The e-Business environment is more dynamic, and requires more consistent innovation than traditional business for sustainable success. e-Business is anything but “Business as usual”.
- The pace of Technology: The rate of technology change is also much more rapid in “e-Business”. Yes, new technology only offers a competitive edge for a very short period of time (before everyone else adopts it), but it provides a extremely powerful competitive advantage during that short period of time. Think social sharing, location-based marketing, and mobile apps.
Want another compelling argument? Try hiring a regular “business consultant” to help you shape new strategies for your eBusiness. (Not a serious recommendation!)
Until next time – Axel