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Innovative Planning For Electronic Commerce And Enterprises: A Reference Model


We learned about the Industrial Revolution from textbooks. We saw documentaries about Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Bell, and Henry Ford on the History Channel. Now, we find the boy next door, Bill Gates, climbing to the same historical stature right under our noses. Emerging industrial giants of the same caliber are all over the map. We are eyewitnesses of the Information Revolution. We were unbelievers when the Mainframes and Minis came about. We were skeptical when the acronym PC became a household word. We cried foul when industries poured all kinds of money into any kind of "the information thing" - where is the payoff? We (including Bill Gates) thought we had everything figured out just when the World Wide Web was knocking on our doors. Then, we are sure that e-commerce - or e-business, or e-service, or e-economy, or e-corporate, or e-city, or e-society, or e-warfare - is just about doing business on the Internet; or are we? We might as well wonder a little more - why did the computer come to the U.S. first? Why the PC did not go to the rivalries in late 1970's and early 1980's? Why the Internet and the Web community in 1990's followed a similar path of diffusion? Why is e-commerce emerging from the grass roots, again, in the same manner as the string of inventions that changed the world in past decades? Is there any inherent relationship between the democratization of a people and an information revolution - and is the relationship causal in both directions?

We are interested in e-commerce. We are interested in its ability to create wealth, to improve the institution of capitalism, and to renew the democracy of the global village. However, the authors wrote this book only to humbly propose a planning model for developing strategic goals for e-commerce enterprises. We might sometimes be provocative in the book, but we have the sense to opinionate that no one really knows how to plan an innovative e-commerce enterprise that definitely works and makes money. We just try to provide a framework of a structured search for such plans. Therefore, the book has three parts. The first part is the planning model and a methodology to use the model. The planning model is based on principles derived from the literature and the authors' past projects. The methodology also uses Value Chain Analysis to connect e-commerce goals with business processes. The second part evaluates the model and calibrates it to industrial cases as well as the established scholarly results in the field. The last part consists of three exploratory plans for some industrial applications, including supply chain integration, Internet banking, and customer service (ordering) for heavy industry. About fifty cases are discussed in the book at various degrees of depth. The three industrial cases illustrate how to apply the planning model using the methodology. They also supplement the model in the sense that they provide some generic plans for a few classes of common processes. Between the planning model (and methodology) and the industrial benchmarks, a reference model for e-commerce is obtained. We hope that the calibration with the literature has given the reference model some accountability.

The authors are indebted to many people who made the book possible. Dr. Hyun Taek Sim and Mr. Kwangsik Kim collaborated with the authors on two industrial cases; we owe them our sincere gratitude. We are also grateful to Mr. Gary Folven, editor of Kluwer Academic Publishers, for his patience and encouragement. Cheng Hsu would like to thank Dr. Daniel Berg, Dr. Gregory Hughes and Dr. James Tien of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; their support has been instrumental to his research on e-commerce. Somendra Pant would like to acknowledge the constant encouragement, love, and support of parents: Kiran and Harish, sister, Mini, brother-in-law, Jacob, brother, Pankaj, and friends: Betty, Harsh, Rajesh, Rishi, Lalit, Pradeep, and Suman who have been with him every step of the way, all the way. We also wish to express our gratitude to our colleagues at Rensselaer and Clarkson, including Drs. Boleslaw Szymanski, Faye Duchin, Jeffery Durgee, William A, Wallace and many others with whom the authors discussed their ideas. We regret that we cannot include all people who assisted the project in this brief acknowledgement. Ms. Michelle Wallace proofread the manuscript and, along with Ms. Barbara Clause, helped format the book; to Michelle and Barbara, we express many thanks.

  • Cheng Hsu
  • Somendra Pant

viu.eng.rpi.edu is hosted by Professor Cheng Hsu.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (formally Decision Sciences & Engineering Systems)
110 8th St., Center for Industrial Innovation, Room 5123, Troy, NY 12180-3590

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