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e-Business Applications: Walmart

HC3152 e-Business Applications

Assignment 1 Learning outcomes:

a) apply theoretical and practical knowledge in the design, recommendation and adoption of e-business  applications.

b) evaluate and apply e-commerce business strategy models.

Assignment 2:

Read the article “The future of the retail store”. Select a retail store to be the focus of this assignment. Briefly describe the current operation of this store. You will search in the peer reviewed recent journal articles in ProQuest to find at least two articles relevant to the assignment. The ideas from these articles will be incorporated into the discussion in your individual assignment. An attachment to the assignment will list the correct Harvard referencing of each of the journal articles and a brief outline of the key points in the journal article that are relevant to the assignment. Do not summarise the journal article. Identify the key points and briefly describe them and their relevance to the assignment. You should review and refine your refinement and polishing of the ideas and the communication of ideas, prior to the submission of the report. Your report must lead to recommendations on how this retail store can become more effective through the use of internet technologies.

Assignment 2 learning outcomes:

a) apply theoretical and practical knowledge in the design, recommendation and adoption of e-business applications.

b) evaluate and apply e-commerce business strategy models.

c) demonstrate research skills using academic literature and integrating ideas from the literature to the information technology issues in e-business and in preparation for life-long learning.

d) demonstrate the capacity to write professional reports containing sound recommendations in preparation for their career in information technology and business.


Answer

Introduction: 

The purpose of this report is to develop an understanding of theoretical knowledge for the design of e-business applications. Over the past decade, the growth of e-businesses has been enormous (Oliveira and Martins 2010). In this assignment, the researcher has selected a retail store, Walmart, in order to discuss how it could gain the business opportunities in future by focusing more on the e-business applications. For supporting the research analysis, the researcher has selected two peer-reviewed journals based on e-business. The final part of the research discusses how Walmart can use the internet technologies more effectively to gain competitive advantage in business. 

Scope of the project: 

This project aims at analyzing the significance of e-business applications for retail stores. In this project, the researcher has developed an in-depth analysis of how retail store can use e-business applications in order to gain a competitive advantage in the business and develop a strong competitive force in the large marketplace. Two recent peer-reviewed journals have been selected to support the discussion. The project will deliver a clear understanding of future of retail stores. In recent time, most of the retail stores have focused on adopting e-business applications for achieving high growth in business. However, organizations encounter several challenges to use e-business applications. 

Current operation of Walmart:

Walmart Inc is an American multinational retail corporation, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, Walmart operates a chain of grocery stores, discount department, and hypermarkets. As of January 2018, Walmart has 11,718 stores and clubs in more than 25 countries (walmart.com. 2018). Walmart is also preparing to unveil a new website, where a unique brand partner will be featured. Some of the major operations of Walmart include product and service design, quality management, capacity and process design, supply chain management and inventory management. The company has started focusing on its e-business, as it targets growth of 40% online sales in fiscal 2019, according to the report published by CNBC (Thomas 2018). 

Analysis and evaluation:

Basu and Muylle (2011) have discussed in the article, “Assessing and enhancing e-business processes”, even though e-commerce has become a popular way of business transactions in most economic markets, other significant elements of e-business are not utilized so far effectively. In this peer-reviewed article, authors have discussed how organizations can enhance their knowledge and understanding of e-business by applying the e-business process model. Due to the expansion of e-business, organizations have to focus on their IT department, as ineffective use of emerging technology can affect the implementation an of e-business model. Basu and Muylle (2011) have also mentioned that e-business provides a new generation of business execution process to the organization that indeed facilitates in enhancing relationships with customers, suppliers, partners and competitors. The e-business application of Walmart not only facilitates it enhancing business opportunities but also build a strong relationship with its customers. Unlike traditional business processes, e-business allows the organization to conduct customer relationship management effectively (Ifinedo 2011). 

From a managerial perspective, authors presented a multi-level Electronic Commerce Architecture that involves three different levels of services including commerce service, network service and content service. These three level of services need to be followed while implementing e-business applications. Network services support the network that facilitates organizations in implementing e-commerce (Turban, King and Lang 2011). On the other hand, commerce services are based on exchange process model. The content services refer to the particular service related to the domain or the industry. For applying e-business strategies, the retail stores need to focus on different types of e-business processes. Being one of the largest retail chains in the world, Walmart focuses more on their e-business applications in order to maintain the leading position in the industry. 

As underlined by Basu and Muylle (2011), there are three types of e-business processes, including trade, decision support and integration process. Trading processes aim at supporting selling and buying the online platform. With the application of this e-business process, retail stores could add values and to the business and save costs for business transactions. The second process discussed by the authors is decision support processes that allow could allow a retail store to get information and apply analytical models. With the application of such analytical model, Walmart could easily enhance its ability to make effectual decisions in business. The article, “Assessing and enhancing e-business processes”, conducted by Basu and Muylle (2011), also discusses that integration process is the most effective e-business process, aiming at facilitating organizations to integrate their information systems towards enabling computerization of tasks across diverse element information systems.  

In most of the cases, retail stores encounter difficulties in integrating different processes in their e-business application. However, Walmart has successfully integrated all systems in their e-business. Data integration and application integration are most important aspects of e-business process. In the data integration process, retail store applies software to access its partner’s database (Theodosiou and Katsikea 2012). On the other hand, in the application integration, organizations have to use advanced emerging technologies in order to integrate both data and applications, such as order details, payment information, inventory, and accounting and workflow systems. It is imperative for Walmart to follow this integration and data management process effectively to gain business opportunities in the competitive business environment. By summing up the article, it can be identified that authors have developed an understanding of different levels of e-business processes, e-business model, and e-business architecture. It is significant for the retail stores to use e-business process effectively to achieve desired outcomes. 

Bordonaba-Juste, Lucia-Palacios and Polo-Redondo (2012) have discussed in their article, “Antecedents and consequences of e-business adoption for European retailers”, there are several beneficial aspects of adopting e-business, such as the transformation of business models, organizational structures, and enhancement of relationships with suppliers, customers and business partners. Authors have described e-business as the integration of business process as well as various management practices with the advanced communication technologies via internet technologies. Authors have also underlined that the emergence of e-business has facilitated the retailers in developing a better understanding of customer needs, customer products and current market demands. E-business is a disruptive innovation that radically changes the traditional method of conducting business (Combe 2012). In order to develop strong competitive force in the business, it is important for the organizations to reorganize as well as restructure their business model effectively. Authors have identified that the organizations need to focus on integrating advanced emerging technologies in their existing work process in order to adopt e-business process effectively. 

According to the discussion conducted by Bordonaba-Juste, Lucia-Palacios and Polo-Redondo (2012), the use of e-business strategy could bring changes in the management, marketing and corporate strategy of the organization. It is evaluated in the article that the inter-organizational systems possess a significant impact on value chain management of the organization. Due to the use of the internet technologies, the quality, as well as cost of the value chain activities of Walmart, could be affected (Wiengarten et al. 2013). Authors have discussed that the internet technology could affect the cost and quality of diverse value chain activities including logistics, operations, human resource management, marketing, sales, after-sales services, procurement and technology development. In most of the cases, retailers also face challenges due to the adverse impacts of internet technology on their value chain activities.

 Most of the retailers including Walmart encounter issues in developing e-commerce business, as the development of the e-commerce business not only needs a web presence of the company but also requires a new web-based business model. The authors have pointed out that the exploitation of e-technologies and e-business enables organizations to develop a new marketplace (Bordonaba-Juste, Lucia-Palacios and Polo-Redondo 2012). Therefore, it can be assessed that the retailers like Walmart need to develop new strategies for their new marketplace. By using a web-based business model, Walmart could influence its new markets. Without developing an effective strategy for the new marketplace, Walmart might not be able to achieve desired success in the competitive retail industry. 

After the emergence of the e-business concept, the management of the organizations has also been affected, as they have to develop effective business strategies in order to compete with other organizations conducting e-business in the large marketplace. Unlike traditional offline market, e-business provides a wide marketplace to the organizations, due to which the level of competition has increased radically (Casadesus-Masanell and Ricart 2010). In the retail industry, Walmart faces huge competition from its key competitors. Due to the implementation of new technologies, the management of Walmart has to deal with the new form of work. Therefore, it can be assessed that the e-business has a significant impact on the management of inter-organizational processes. 

Bordonaba-Juste, Lucia-Palacios and Polo-Redondo (2012) have also discussed that the internet technology has brought a new world of marketing, where organizations can easily share their product and service information with their target customers, regardless of any geographical barriers. The authors have also underlined that the e-business often creates adverse impacts on the customer service. Retail owners can take benefits of changing relationships with customers with the e-commerce businesses (Fuchs et al. 2010). In most of the cases, it has been seen that the e-businesses face difficulties in developing effective relationships with customers. Lack of IT expertise is another major concern for retailers including Walmart that focuses on expanding their e-business in the large marketplace. By summing up the article, it can be identified that adoption of e-business could create adverse impacts on the management, marketing and corporate strategies of the organization. 

Conclusion:

From the analysis of two different articles based on e-business, it can be assessed that the organizations need to focus on their business strategies in order to develop e-business and achieve desired outcomes. Although e-business is the future of most of the retailers, there are several issues associated with it, which need to be identified and eliminated with effective strategy implementation. 

Recommendations:

Ineffective use of advanced technology is one of the major issues for most of the retailers in developing e-business solution. Therefore, it is recommended to Walmart to focus on using emerging technology in the business with the help of skilled IT professionals. Organizations without IT expertise may not be able to use the full potential of new technologies.  As discussed in this research, the management adoption of e-business could create a noteworthy impact on the management of inter-organizational procedures. It is essential or the management of the organization to develop knowledge and understanding of integrating web technologies with the existing business methods. Most of the large-sized organizations adopt e-technologies to increase business opportunities. By using more e-technologies, Walmart would be able to increase its business size. 

Unlike small-sized retailer, Walmart has required resources, technical infrastructure and skilled personnel to develop e-business solutions. By adopting internet technology, Walmart would be more effective in terms of generating revenues, increasing sales, and reducing the costs of operations. Using internet platform indeed contributes retailers to target large customer bases regardless of geographical barriers. Walmart could expand its business across the international platform and reduce the transaction costs by using internet technology. In addition, the use of internet technology in business would also enable Walmart to maintain product quality, high standard of customer service and product development.

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