What is Electronic Commence (E-Com)?
Electronic commerce is the application of communication and information sharing technologies among trading partners to the pursuit of business objectives. In the real world of business four distinct types of EC mingle and interact:
Information access provides search and retrieve capability for public domain and proprietary data archives. The most common example of this type of EC is information services (e.g. Dialog, Nexus - Lexus, and ABI Informs) that maintain a data base and charges for access. Another example would be a large manufacturer communicate engineering change notices to suppliers via dial-up access to a centralized database.
Interpersonal communication services provide methods for parties with mutual interests to exchange information, "discuss" ideas, and improve their cooperation. Examples include customer and supplier design groups jointly working out product specifications, updated files being sent by a publisher to a printer, and a purchasing agent using electronic mail to negotiate an expediting schedule with a supplier.
Shopping services allow people to seek and purchase goods or services though electronic networks. This form of EC for retail sales is what comes most readily to mind when one hears the term "electronic commerce". But this genre of EC can be extended in many other directions. As examples, it can apply to the purchase of used industrial equipment, commodities, or freight capacity.
Virtual enterprises are business arrangements in which trading partners separated by geography and expertise are able to engage in complex joint business activities, as if they were a single enterprise. One example would be true supply chain integration, where planing and forecast data are transmitted quickly and accurately throughout a multi-tier supply chain. Another example would be non-competing suppliers with a common customer using EC to allow that customer to do "one stop shopping" with the assurance that a single phone call will bring the right materials to the right location at the right time.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI is the computer-to-computer exchange of structured business information in a standard electronic format. Information stored on one computer is translated by software programs into standard EDI format for transmission to one or more trading partners. The trading partners computers, in turn, translate the information using software programs into a form they can understand.