ERCIM News No.30 - July 1997

Teamwork, Extended Enterprise and Electronic Commerce

by Yves Pigneur

To compete in today's global information-based and customer-driven economy, companies must be efficient, innovative and competitive; able to respond just-in-time, focus on quality, and implement a so-called mass-customization. They try to adapt and align their strategy, their organisational structure, and their use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in order to remain competitive, survive or grow. In order to monitor the changes in their environment and to gain the advantages of both an innovation strategy and an efficiency one, companies are in the ­ maybe too slow? ­ process of reviewing their organisational structures and processes. Teamwork, extended enterprise and electronic commerce are co-opetition structures for coordinating business activities, balancing a high autonomy (competition) and a high control (cooperation). The ICTs should facilitate the sharing of information, the communication between partners, and the coordination of activities.

We distinguish three worldwide-adopted paradigm shifts that some companies try to adopt in order to:

Companies know that information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be a lever to implement their strategy and re-engineer their organisation. Such information and communication technologies can used for improving:

Teamwork and auto-organisation

Academics, since Peter Drucker, argue that organisation has to be flat and flexible with empowered teams of knowledge workers re-engineering and improving business processes. New information and communication technologies such as on-line databases and services, electronic document management (EDM), executive information systems (EIS), electronic meeting systems (EMS), video-conference, workflow automation, can leverage the redesign of

Extended enterprise

The traditional view of the firm with clear boundaries, limited relations with partners and stable markets is evolving. Today, information and communication technologies such as CD-ROM, on-line services, electronic data interchange (EDI), efficient customer response (ECR) and the Internet, can leverage a redesign of the inter-organisational relations

allowing the companies:

Electronic platforms represent the initiative of one or more players (trade participants, professional organisations, or industry associations) in a market to provide a common electronic platform for the industry. The intention is to offer transaction savings, bring economies of scale, and improve the efficiency of trade for the entire participating community.

Electronic markets refer to computer-supported places where an intermediary performs many essential market functions like seller and buyer identification, matching, negotiation, settlement, insurance and trust brokering, product and service valuation. The intent is often the promotion of fair and competitive markets.

Suggested framework for analyzing the use of ICTs in the companies.

Electronic commerce

Firms communicate with their customers through various media. The computer-mediated environments such as the Minitel, Compuserve, and the Internet allow on-line marketers to increase their on-line spending in order to be:

Most on-line marketers are adopting a trial-and-error method to find the best approach to integrate these new media in their marketing strategy in order to:

Information brokers such electronic markets and information malls are intermediaries that allow consumers to cost-effectively access, compare and discuss more data about the products they are willing to buy.

More information at:

Please contact:
Yves Pigneur - Université de Lausanne
Tel: +41 21 692 3416

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