Paisley University

Project Description

It is clear that remote/rural areas are benefiting by utilising e-commerce (Cairncross 1997); on the surface we can see that the product choice is greatly increased and inconveniences are reduced for consumers and opportunities are increasing for business, both existing and new. The main aim of this project is to define the main benefits enjoyed by rural/remote communities by analysing how buying and selling in these areas occurs, the problems encountered and how the processes differ from e-commerce conducted in populated and well-connected areas. It is hoped that this will aid these communities by aiding the appreciation of their respective situations in order to gain an insight into how benefits can be maximised and problems corrected in the fulfilment of practical e-commerce applications.

It is anticipated that the primary research case studies will focus on remote areas of the UK, (initially Barra & Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Easter Ross and Arran) this is due purely to logistical constraints and should not reflect problems/issues specific only to these areas. The intention of the study is to quantify the problems and benefits e-commerce brings to remote and rural areas around the developed world, not just within the UK. It is for this reason that two existing studies, commissioned by the Australian and Canadian governments and will be used in the secondary research of the project, one from the business (sell-side) perspective and one from the consumer (buy-side) perspective. It is anticipated that this will help to perceive patterns that are unique rural/remote areas.

Project Abstract

It is fully recognised that any organisation, commercial or otherwise, can streamline their operations in some, if not all ways, by employing modern technologies (Porter & Miller 1985). As Duke et al (1999) point out; conducting business electronically provides organisations with the ability to offer substantial added value to customers (in terms of price, speed, delivery options, choice etc) and greater efficiency and control of many different business processes. The challenge that faces the modern commercial organisation who wishes to do business on the web is to fully integrate a strategy which involves integrating their existing infrastructure, business processes and structures into a comprehensive plan using IT and web technologies. Many businesses have floundered in their quest (Kotha 1998) to move into e-commerce when they failed to understand the gamut of issues that must be fully addressed to integrate their operations into a successful e-commerce model (Venkatraman 1998, Kotha 1998) this applies to both pure and partial e-commerce organisations. The different types of business an organisation can conduct on the web does not just mean selling products to public consumers but also entails buying from suppliers, selling to suppliers through agents (intermediaries), electronic procurement, business process outsourcing and many other types of transaction, all made possible as a direct result of technological advancement. The many advantages that the business will aim to gain are savings in costs and time, reduction or elimination of the paper office, better control of stock and inventories, increased overall processing times and improved and better control of marketing operations. Without doubt one of the advantages that result when an organisation starts to trade on the web is the fact that many more markets are opened up that wouldnÂ’t have been accessible before.

Surveys released for this project:
Rural/ Remote Business Survey 22
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