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E-Business System Examination Paper Assessment Answer

eBusiness - Examination Paper Autumn 2020

Word count
There are FIVE (5) questions in this examination paper. Answer any FOUR (4)
questions. All questions carry 25 marks.
Learning Outcomes assessed
2,4,and 5

Note: When terms are given in bold, you should include an explanation of the term(s) in your answer.

Question 1
Explain what is meant by the term digital disruption. Using examples, critically evaluate TWO (2) digital disruptions and how they have contributed to value added.
Explain what is meant by the term business model. Give an example of a

business model and critically evaluate how one of the digital disruptions in your answer to part a) could impact upon the model.

Question 2
Using examples, critically evaluate how SIPOC can assist managers to optimise processes and information flows.
Using industry examples, critically evaluate the potential possibilities for dis- intermediation of the Supply Chain through improved process and information flows.
Question 3
Using examples, explain the difference between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Critically evaluate how these services can help an organisation become more efficient and effective.
Evaluate the benefits of a cloud based service for a small business and what the
opportunity cost of such an investment may be to them.

Question 4
Explain what targeted advertising is and using examples, identify the types of information which can be gathered by organisations to enable targeted advertising.

Explain what ethical issues exist in relation to the information gathered about individuals and organisations to enable targeted advertising. Give examples of targeted advertising and laws which seek to protect users.
Question 5
When designing an e-business system, with reference to an example, evaluate the use of workflow process mapping for the analyst.

When designing a web service for an organisation for use by multiple people; identify two accessibility issues which need to be considered and critically evaluate how they influence the design process.


Question 1 

a) Explain what is meant by the term digital disruption. Using examples, critically evaluate TWO (2) digital disruptions and how they have contributed to value-added.

Digital disruption can be termed as a mechanism that the companies introduce in their processes to make a shift in their existing digital functions. The disruption generally takes place when a digital innovation happens—for instance, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Device, among others. The word 'disruption' sounds negative, hinting us that it might not be suitable for the companies. However, that is not true. Disruption becomes negative only for the companies that do not evolve with time and ignore the digital transformations taking place across (Skog, Wimelius and Sandberg, 2018). Though the digital disruptions, over time, have facilitated the companies to grow and lead the market; it always brings along with it, risks and uncertainty. That is the reason why the scholars pitch that a careful study of consumer demands are inevitable. However, it does not mean that the companies must avoid innovations, but rather, they must look for the best possible opportunities. The world is growing at a significantly faster rate. This creates an obligation for the companies to offer innovations to its customers. 

Two digital disruptions and the values added by them-

  1. Video Streaming: We all know for a fact that today, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, and Disney+ are most loved by the people globally. However, let us take Netflix as an example, which is ruling the world of video streaming currently. It all began from a small idea; the purpose was to cater to the needs of people who were not impulse about new movie releases, but instead could wait for some days to watch those in the DVDs. The service offered in the initial days was relatively slow, but that did not matter much to people of those times; who saw this as a significant innovation (Castillo, 2017).
  2. Photography: Today, smartphone manufacturers focus majorly on two things: processing and photography. The experience of Kodak Company is a lesson for many, as the first digital camera was invented in the 1970s; however, it was rejected on the ground that the customers might not very well go with it (Zhang, 2017). Photography in smartphones is an essential feature today, as people prefer carrying lighter devices like smartphones to capture beautiful moments of their lives, rather than the heavy cameras.

b) Explain what is meant by the term business model. Give an example of a business model and critically evaluate how one of the digital disruptions in your answer to part a) could impact upon the model.

Every company has some or the other core strategies that drive its functioning and growth; this is termed as a business model. The model has a set of standards and contains crucial information about the company like service strategy, products design, and target markets, among other vital aspects (DaSilvam, C. and Trkman, 2014). A business needs to have a well-defined and specific model that accelerates its growth and can create a space for the company in the market and also, acquire a sizeable share in the market.

The ten business models are: 

  1. Direct sales
  2. Consulting
  3. User-generated content
  4. Online education
  5. E-commerce
  6. Distribution based
  7. Drop-shipping
  8. Social enterprise
  9. Blockchain-based
  10. Attention merchant

The consulting based business model is going to gain momentum in the coming years. The digitalisation of the businesses across the globe is quite evident. However, it also comes with several challenges. In that regard, the consulting firms are likely to play a critical role; offering advises to businesses. If the consulting firms adopt Video Streaming as the digital disruption, it can help them gain the customers and put a mark on the minds of companies. The consulting firms can look for two significant options, like developing an application and creating a YouTube channel. They can produce video content relevant to the changing business dynamics and offer basic advises to the viewers; the companies. Once they can create a base online, they can initiate with subscriptions, etc. to allow the companies to connect with the consulters one-to-one, digitally. This may also help the consultation firms, significantly when unforeseen situations like a pandemic, can impact the functioning of businesses.

Question 2

a) Using examples, critically evaluate how SIPOC can assist managers to optimise processes and information flows.

SIPOC can be referred to as a tool that facilitates the businesses noting down the inputs and outputs of the processes, which take place in the company, in a tabular format. The table has the columns of Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs and Customers; which mean nothing but SIPOC. It is critical to the businesses as it allows them to look at the more comprehensive picture and analyse the factors affecting the SIPOC. The element involved in the preparation of SIPOC is statistics which is fashioned with graphs and charts to help project managers analyse the situation. (Brown, 2019)

  • Sales Department
  • Marketing Department

  • Database of Customers
  • Accounts
  • Order Systems
  • Receiving orders/requests of clients
  • Processing information of clients
  • Detailing the information
  • Updating the information
  • Updating the accounts
  • Marketing Teams reaching out
  • Feedback
  • Surveys

Figure 1: Proposed SIPOC Model for a Telecom Service Provider

(Source: Self-Created, 2020)

Two examples of ways in which the SIPOC model can help the managers-

  1. Listing the critical information: The model allows the managers to record all the relevant information that is or might be of use to the company—for instance, the database of the customers. In the 21st century, data is considered the new gold. Having access over the data of customers, by ethical means is the most significant thing a company can make use. The model will help the managers to pick up the data as per the relevance of proposed service, according to the demographic details, facilitating the easier access to target a particular segment of the market.
  2. Reduces time and efforts: When all the critical information is listed in the SIPOC Model, it significantly reduces the time of managers to search for the needed information. It helps the managers quickly make use of relevant vital elements according to the issue they face. It also helps the subordinates of the manager to make use of information in the absence of the manager.

b) Using industry examples, critically evaluate the potential possibilities for disintermediation of the Supply Chain through improved process and information flows.

Disintermediation, in simplest terms, means the elimination or removal of intermediaries from the supply chain structure of the business. It is a well-established fact that an effective and efficient supply chain does not necessarily require an intermediary. The supply chain network must be based on strategies, processes, plans and performance objectives that help smoothen the functioning of the business. The critical aim of disintermediation is to improve the functioning of the company and provide quality products or services to the customers (CFI, n.d.). However, as easy as it seems to be, disintermediation must be followed in a well-laid out process. 

The finest example from the industry that can be taken up to support the potential of disintermediation is online shopping. Amazon, the largest online shopping company in the world, has transformed the lives of people. In metro cities, it is convenient for the customers to order online, the essentials, rather than spending a day out for shopping. Today, numerous online shopping sites offer such services. We can see that these companies have adopted disintermediation with the help of innovation and improved processes. Such measures, if taken, along with the excellent source of information flows, can help the companies achieve the optimum functioning of their businesses. The elimination of intermediaries must be taken into consideration after the process is thoroughly researched, and all the stakeholders must be taken into consideration for the same.

Question 4

a) Explain what targeted advertising is and using examples, identify the types of information which can be gathered by organisations to enable targeted advertising.  

Targeted advertising can be referred to as form where a specific group of consumers with similar interests, traits and preferences are targeted for one particular product or service. In such kind of advertising, usually, the advertisers track the activities of the consumers that they keep updating on social media. The online survey and polls are also taken into consideration (Liu, S. and Matilla, 2017). There are various kinds of information that the advertisers seek about the customers online. Some of the types of information are-

  1. Demographic Information- The information gathered under this type is age, gender, race, education, religion, marital status, among others. It must be noted that the information under this segment is personal to the customers; however, it is not confidential. So, it is in favour of the advertisers to gain information ethically.
  2. Geographical Information- The information gathered under this type is facilitated with the help of Google Maps. The place customer lives or visits is collected, and accordingly, the advertisements could be shown to the customers.
  3. Psychological Information- The advertisers seek the information of customers that is intricate to them. The type includes information like belief, personality, interest, values, lifestyle, spirituality, liking, among other aspects. Generally, this information can be extracted when the customers search for a particular thing.
  4. Behavioural Information- The advertisers generally seek information based on the habits of the customers. The purchasing habits, the brand preference and brand interactions are typically taken into consideration while such kind of information is gathered.

It should be realised that in the digital era, Google is the biggest advertiser. It gathers the information of the customers and shows them the things they like to view. It makes it easier for the customers, as they get all the likeable information as soon as they open the Google application. It significantly reduces the time required in search, as well as eases the digital experience of customers. However, it must be noted that everything is done ethically—the targeted marketing benefits both the customers and service providers.

b) Explain what ethical issues exist in relation to the information gathered about individuals and organisations to enable targeted advertising. Give examples of targeted advertising and laws which seek to protect users.

The digital era, on the one hand, has eased our lives, and, on the other hand, it has raised concerns as well. The critical information has become prone to be misused these days. Ethical issues generally occur when our actions and decisions harm someone or society's morale and principles. It has become essential for companies to be extra cautious while making decisions. Target marketing is crucial to e-business. However, if the confidential information of the customer is gathered without her permission, it can create ethical issues (Roberts, L.D. and Allen, 2015). Thus, several laws prevent the companies from manipulating over the confidential data of the customers and protect the privacy of the customers. Every country has different regulations in this regard. Internationally, Data Protection and Privacy Legislation Worldwide are put in place. Out of 194 countries, 132 countries have adopted it. This is a significant number, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is working on to include all the countries, as data privacy is a critical issue. In the United Kingdom, the Data Protection Act 2018, implemented under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an essential step towards protecting the customers' data. The laws come up with strict regulations that must compulsorily be adhered by the companies.

Question 5

a) When designing an e-business system, with reference to an example, evaluate the use of workflow process mapping for the analyst.

An e-business system is essential for conducting business online. It requires some critical elements such as online technologies, internet (most important), tools and equipment. In order to connect with the customers, function their requests or orders and store the critical information, a company needs these elements. The managers in an organisation generally prefer to use the workflow process mapping, to ease their work by representing every key detail, visually. The necessary information includes plans, actions, tasks to be performed, decisions are taken, and objectives set up. Example of a Workflow Diagram 1Example of a Workflow Diagram 2

Figure 2: Example of a Workflow Diagram

(Source: Toyaja, n.d.)

In Figure 2, we can observe that the whole process looks so clear, right from the order placed by the customer to the shipment delivered to the customer. The managers and other people can quickly analyse the process. This is how the workflow mapping works and makes it easy for the analysts to understand the critical elements that are the part of a process.  There are some benefits of using the workflow process mapping-

  1. Creates a constructive environment
  2. The process is given utmost importance and always leaves scope for the improvement in operations.
  3. It forms a basis for the processes to be conducted further.
  4. Each part of the process is clearly outlined and allows easy coordination with other factors.
  5. Once the command over workflow mapping is done, it significantly reduces the time involved in explaining the processes.
  6. The subordinates or colleagues find it easy to understand the system without special guidance needed.

b) When designing a web service for an organisation for use by multiple people; identify two accessibility issues which need to be considered and critically evaluate how they influence the design process.

Web service refers to the application that serves as a basis for the communication between the service providers and the clients. Every company requires a web service, and for that, detailed guidance is needed from the web service developers. Generally, there are two kinds of web services; Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Representational State Transfer (REST) (Kumari and Rath, 2015). A Web is considered universal if it has the power to be accessed by many people. So, the organisations, these days look for the designs that can be accessed by their staff, managers and customers even. Hence, web designers must present the web service that is free from any issue. However, there are some accessibility issues that are usually faced by the web designers such as; longer time is taken while using of Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans (CAPTCHA), failure in providing suitable alternatives for inaccessible content, loss in ensuring that the sites can be accessed without using a mouse, absence of 'Skip to main content', etc. We shall now discuss the two major accessibility issues that must be considered while designing a web service-

  1. Implementing the CAPTCHA Solution: CAPTCHA usually takes a longer time in resolving, and the users find it quite annoying. They often tend to lose interest, and that is the reason why web design developers require the solution to it. The use of reCAPTCHA can be taken into consideration for finding a solution to it. It can be done by registering the website on reCAPTCHA.
  2. Implementing Skip to Main Content: By adding a navigation link in the website, the web developers can offer this feature on the website. This must be taken duly into consideration as usually, clients or users do not wish to read the entire content or watch the ad video. It reduces their time of accessibility, thus making it easier to use.
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