Creating Competitive Advantage Through Web Technology

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Ryan, John
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Business Studies
Dublin Business School
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What I tried to do in this Dissertation is to give some insight into the new field of Internet-based electronic commerce and how it can affect industry structures and transform value chains. The internet is seen as a specific type of information and communication technology (ICT) innovation, since 1993 when the first graphical browser was introduced for the World Wide Web (WWW), otherwise known as the Web. The thesis tries to give an answer to the following questions: 1. What is the impact of internet based electronic commerce on the industry structure as a whole while looking at intermediation and disintermediation? 2. How is electronic commerce transforming from the marketplace to the marketspace, the corporate value chains and the corresponding business processes? I do this through the use of the virtual value chain and a business value model of electronic commerce. 3. How can the business value of electronic commerce to a corporation be optimized either in profitability or competitive advantage terms? This Dissertation indirectly adheres to the strategic paradigm of innovation theory which acknowledges the importance of entrepreneurship and strategic management as agents of change in the diffusion of an innovation within an industry and a corporation (Sundbo, 1995). The thesis argues, in fact that the exploration of complementarities between the company strategy , the value chain activities and supporting technologies could lead to a more efficient way of re-organizing for technological innovation such as ecommerce. The adopted technological innovation can then be the basis of numerous innovations, both radical and incremental, within the company and the industry and it might be necessary to make numerous organizational changes, if such technology has lead to a competitive advantage or profitability increase. It is these changes required to be made in an orginization during the adoption process of an innovation which are the main reason why technological change and especially information technology (IT) diffusion is usually slow and industrial enterprises are reluctant to adopt new information technology (IT). The information upon which I had to reply in the course of my research for this thesis was for the most part qualitative rather than quantitative. The subject matter does not lend itself easily to quantitative analysis as there have not been many statistical surveys conducted in this area and therefore there are insufficient figures available to support any firm conclusion. However, to the extent that I could, I supported my conclusions with appropriate quantitative as well as qualitative information.