The nature of current market has seen increased levels of competition. The company objectives are; increasing its market share and online shopping experience, create new products, reduce costs, and develop a very efficient team that will meet the business goals. Tomei top management has identified some strategies and business initiatives; develop a marketing awareness program through aggressive interactive marketing, engaging customer and potential customers in creation of new goods and services, streamlining the business processes, and adopt an e-business approach in all its business units that enabled to gain a competitive edge.
It is worth noting that with the advent of the Internet technologies and the innovations in the mobile technology, as many organizations are changing the way, they are doing business locally and globally. The biggest challenge is the adaption and integration of the IT capabilities and the business demands. Tomei also has to integrate its back-end Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) information systems with the business processes, which may require having some program modification and customisation. This involved additional IT budget for the technical consultancy costs, infrastructure costs, and hire or train skilled (IT) labour. The company has decided that each business unit shall fund this ambitious process.
The core objectives of this study are listed as follows;
To identify how Tomei will increase its marketing awareness on an online platform,
To examine the impacts in Tomei balance sheet will have when it adapts e-business,
To identify how Tomei will increase its consumers engagement on an online environment,
To identify how Tomei will convert potential consumers into regular customers,
To identify how Tomei will increase its online shopping presence,
To establish how Tomei will lower its running costs and,
To identify out how Tomei will increase its market share.
E-commerce Technology Resource
E-commerce has two facades, the business side and the electronic side. From the business perspective Halim, Musa, Embat, Amin, Muda, & Noor, (2012) say e-commerce is doing paperless business and receives support by computer systems that have very dynamic technology, which comprises of messaging system, check, pay and product delivery. Turban (2008) as cited by Halim et al. (2012) says that businesses will search customers and suppliers, do business negotiations and contracts online, as well as signing of agreements and payments through a secure channel over the internet.
Halim et al. (2012) while quoting Keen, (1991); Niederman, Brancheau and Wetherbe, (1991); Weill, (1993) say that Technological Infrastructure in an organization can be implemented to achieve a competitive advantage, and our competitors cannot imitate because the technology and skills, and information technology infrastructure is seen as a strategic resource and as a potential source of sustained competitive advantage. On the other hand, Hayes & Wheelwright (1984), Barney (1986) and Points et al., (1995) as cited by Halim et al. (2012) contrast that Information technology does not give a business a competitive advantage as infrastructural technology and technical skills can be replicate or acquired anytime. While not completely agreeing nor disagreeing Bharadwaj (2000), argues that for a competitive advantage infrastructure technology has to coordinate with other components of a business as cited by Halim et al. (2012).
Halim et al. while quoting Weil and Broadbent (1998) say that the process of developing integration infrastructure takes a lot of time, effort, learning experience and financial risk. Halim et al.(2012) concludes that competitors should expect varying results, when they invest in information technology. Therefore, when a business process is integrated it allows the user to interact with the system with the following devices; personal computer, mobile devices like smart phones and internet infrastructure to provide connectivity.
They are so many factors that determine the connectivity of e-commerce, including bandwidth, Internet-connecting technologies, metropolitan or rural area, terrain, and weather among others. It can be concluded that technology is one of the major factors affecting a business’ competitive advantage.
E-Finance in Malaysia
E-commerce and E-finance in Malaysia have seen a change in the way businesses, and customers pay for their goods and services. The online transactions can be done 24 hours a day, all week, throughout the year, and globally without boundaries or geographical restrictions, unlike physical payment channels (Danial & Sadeeq, 2012).
According to Danial and Saddeq (2012), with the significant growth of internet users and connectivity in Malaysia, this has offered more Malaysians an opportunity to transact on-line than before, thus the need for electronic payment. Franklin, James, and Philip (2002) say that the ability of financial services and markets to use electronic communication to offer on-line credit payment underpin the success of online business transactions. An e-commerce website should allow a visitor to purchase and pay without being physically present at the shop. Locally, in Malaysia, it has been observed that many banks and other financial institution are offering the answer or solution to their customers to fully transact online minus their physical presence. Institutions like Maybank, OCBC Bank, Bumiputra GHL Systems, PayDirect or Financial Link payment gateway to MEPS (Malaysia Electronic Payment System), offer this payment services (Danial & Sadeeq, 2012).
Danial and Saddeq (2012) say that in addition to online credit cards, Malaysian can use direct Internet Banking like Maybank2u, premium SMS or their mobile devices like Mobile Money Weblink. Other internationally renowned payment firms that have in the recent times set a foot in Malaysia are PayPal, which allowed transaction in Malaysian currency, making it easier for Malaysian to transact on-line reduce the use of dollars. Other firms that offer on-line payment services in Malaysia are WorldPay, and a Malaysia most reputable online payment gateway financial institution known as iPay88.com. This has seen a growth in the economy, and increase in the number of online shoppers in Malaysia and across the globe. It should be noted that although the advent of e-financing, is perhaps one of the most obvious and immediate benefits of the Internet, it comes with security risks. Customers are prone to losing revenue, information, and endangered privacy.
However, the dearth of a success story cannot be used to say that the e-commerce is not doing well in Malaysia. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) survey, online money transactions in Malaysia by 2007 had hit US$ 23 billion (Khan, Dominic, & Alamgir, 2009 as cited in Danial & Sadeeq, 2012). A study by the star News Paper shows that Malaysian’s spend RM 1.8bil on online transaction; this figure is expected to triple in the subsequent years say the paper (HO, 2011, as cited in Danial & Sadeeq, 2012). PayPal study in 2011 shows that Malaysian’s spend more on local e-commerce websites than foreign ones, standing at RM825 million and RM627 million respectively (HO, 2011, as cited in Danial & Sadeeq, 2012). The Star newspaper quotes PayPal manager suggestion that local websites stand a chance of competing with their foreign competitors, as Malaysians prefer the local entities to foreign e-shops (Danial & Sadeeq, 2012) or Danial and Sadeeq, (2012). See APPENDIX-4 Top 7 Things Malaysian Pay Online.
John Deighton (as cited in Lee Ferry, 2007. p.2) Interactive Marketing (IM) as marketing that is more chat-like than transaction based and is done via the internet. Lee (2007) suggests a number of ways that can be used to enhance e-commerce readiness, they are briefly discussed. Affiliate marketing is where an affiliate is rewarded for every visitor they recommend to the website. Contextual advertising is where the user sees content that relates to what they are viewing on the web. Email marketing, uses electronic mail to send customized promotional messages to current and potential customers. Pay per click, is an IM model use comely by search engines, where the business pay only for the number of click their adverts get.
Really Simple Syndication (RSS), this updates the most frequently accessed information on the websites. Lee (2007) further explores the use of Search Engine Optimization options like the Search Engine Marketing where a business pays for search listing. A viral marketing is also explored, and it’s voluntary where users exchange funny video clips, images, games among others to market a product. Other IM approaches are blogs and banner Ads.These techniques have increased customer loyalty, customer satisfaction, and customer base. Some of the techniques suggested are very expensive for a business of the magnitude of Tomei might be less expensive are video marketing via Youtube, blog, social-medial via Facebook, social-media via Twitter, Organic SCO optimizations Vs PPC or Google Adwords.
Streamline business processes
Jansen (2010) addresses and provides the principles on the redesign of business process and e-commerce reintroduction. The author further adds that existing business process must be integrated with the e-commerce website to enhance timely interaction with the suppliers and the customers. Krzwonosas cited in Jansen (2010), observes that 85-90% of e-commerce websites have no integration with the back-office processes, which makes technology benefits unrealized. In a business brainstorming session, all stakeholders involved try to find out options in a business process, which are later used by IT specialists, top management and other experts to come up with new processes or business activities. In the study, it comes out clear that business process reengineering should allow an e-commerce and business process to co-exist and excel at the same time supporting each other.
Business processes should be transparent to the customers and suppliers, especially on the e-payment say Lummus and Vorkurka as cited in Jansen (2010). It is further noted that a business process should increase customer loyalty for the success of e-commerce Hall says, as quoted in Jansen 2010 and further cautions that customers are only a mouse click away from the competitors. Business processes should encourage time independence, as much as they allow unlimited ‘opening hours’, and also facilitate around-the-clock attendance. Hall as quoted in Jansen 2010 says business process should be highly efficient and provide a high-quality service when interacting with the e-commerce.
Reijers cited in Jansen (2010) identifies business process reengineering best practices as, task rules, routine rules, resource allocation rules and rules of external parties. Firstly, task rules optimise a single task within the business process by eliminating unnecessary tasks and automating tasks. Secondly are routine rules, they try to optimise the general structure through a business process in the following ways, knockout, relocation to other parties and parallelism. Thirdly, the resource allocation rule, elaborates on how resources will be distributed to business activities or processes. This rule empowers an activity. Finally, rules of external parties enhance on communication channels with the customers and third parties. This rule allows outsourcing, contact reduction, buffering through subscription of information and allowing trusted party to verify information. Business process reengineering can have a positive impact on the business when applied concludes Jansen.
Malaysian Government Initiative
The government of Malaysia has taken a lead role in the development of e-commerce. It has set up concrete realistic measures like creating a favorable policy environment for e-commerce, it is a leading-edge user of e-commerce, and provides for its citizens the required infrastructure for the widespread e-commerce use (Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, 2010).
At the beginning of the 21st Century, Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010) say that the Government of Malaysia had recognized that Internet technology was a key driver of her economy. In the Third Outline Perspective plan (2001-2010) government recognized Information Technology and Communication (ICT) as a key driver for the economy. In another key an EPU (2010) report as cited by Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010), denotes that the government recognizes that ICT is among the 12 Key Economic Areas (NKEA) that will make Malaysia be a high-income economy.
The paper presented by Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010) notes that 2 decades since the conception of the information age phenomena, the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) finally came up with a policy on the e-commerce development in the country. The government has also been on the fore front in provison of infrastructure. According to Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010), its the vision of the government of Malaysia to have a fully-developed economy by 2020. Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010); note that the government’s approach of ‘Government knows the best’ has changed. Although not adequate, the government is now working with all the stakeholders to spearhead the country to an information age.
Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, (2010) say the government has created a favorable environment for the growth of e-commerce by enacting a number of laws. Some of these laws are Personal Data Protection Act 2010; this comes in handy for on-line and realtime transactions so that the data or information privacy is protected. Such laws have boosted consumer confidence, thus an increase in the number of online users. The introduction of cyber laws prohibits fraudulent practices, enhance customer online privacy, and provide a provision for a refund and return of goods, and services shopped online among others. However, despite the enactment of these laws does not eliminate the online hazards (Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, 2010). See APPENDIX-3 for Cyber laws in Malaysia.
They are a number of funding mechanisms the government has initiated, to increase internet connectivity, providing computer training, building infrastructure among others. It is however, noted that there has been a slow uptake of ICT funding among the key players in the ICT field say Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010). Other funding initiatives include the 14 types of grants for the growth of the ICT segment. These grants are offered through MOSTI, MDeC, MTDC and MATRADE. Regrettably, the bureaucracies involved for the private sector to get these grants are unnecessary hazards (Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, 2010).
The government through its agencies like MAMPU and MDeC say Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy (2010) developed 7 flagship initiatives from 2009. The initatives are the General Office Environment, e-Procurement, Project Monitoring System, Human Resource Management Information System, Electronic Services, Electronic Labor exchange, e-land and e-syariah (Mampu.gov.my, as cited in Yew, Ang, and Ramasamy 2010). At the begining of the new millenium, the government lauched MyEG a program that offered e-Government services to the Malaysian people. The project core role was to improve the governments’ delivery services to the consumers.The success and readiness of e-commerce in Malaysia is bench marked with how the government runs its electronic activities. A successful process gives confidence to the private sector and individuals for a secure and efficient online transaction. The government transactions online in 2008 were RM6 billion and in 2010 it held its inaugural e-census that was termed a success (Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, 2010).
The government’s other initiatives to increase internet accessibility and connectivity include; an initiative to get businesswomen to transact on an online environment. All the participants got a free my domain for one year from the government. In 2009, the project recorded 450 participants and the numbers rose by 50% in 2010. Lastly, the MSC Malaysia initiatives namely Multipurpose Smart Card, Smart School, e-Government, Tele Health, R&D Cluster, Borderless Marketing and Worldwide Manufacturing Web(Yew, Ang, & Ramasamy, 2010).
Information Security in E-Business
Rashad, Foong, Mohammad, and Seyed (2001), say that customer privacy is the most sensitive part in the process of e-commerce. Their study is examines the customer trust, e-commerce risk and how to mitigate them on the readiness of the e-commerce. Company's successes are now days measured on how they protect the confidential information of their online clients. Infarction risk and personal security threat have dejected many customers from embracing e-commerce. Companies should work on ways on which they can gain consumer trust that is said to be incremental and built up experimentally over time.
Hackers, crackers, disgruntled employees, corporate adversaries, phising and harming frauds are some of the threats both the client and business face when they engage in an online transaction. Business should come up with ways to reassure their customers of maximum security. They can use some of the following means to reassure their customer’s testimonies from pervious customers, photographs of people enjoying their product, expert witness statements and celebrity endorsement among others. To have a strong customer base, the business can also use trusted third-party companies to handle online money payment, work in unison with other government agencies and send occasional messages assuring their customers of their privacy. They emphatically believe that e-commerce system must be built on safety storage of customers’ personal data that must remain confidential and never to be misused.
According to Senaratha and Wickramasuriya (2011) study, organizational factors affect the adoption of the E-Commerce in an organization. They cite culture type, computer per employee, availability of technical officers, resistance to change, top management and organizational culture as some of the factors that have a direct impact on the readiness of business and IT integration. The organizational culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) by Cameron and Quinn (as cited in to Senaratha and Wickramasuriya p.206) was used to measure the organizational from the participating businesses. There research showed that top managers when they support an initiative it would succeed.
The study shows empirical evidence that there is a positive relationship between adhocracy cultural characteristics among the SME and the level of e-commerce readiness. Adhocratic organizations value flexibility, dynamic adaptability, high entrepreneurship, and a creative place to work. Employees and leaders embrace innovation and risk-taking. On the hand, hierarchical culture shows a loose relationship in the level of e-commerce adoption in SMEs. It’s a highly structured and formal place and to maintain coexistence is most critical. The management in this culture wants security and predictability. They further noted that effective measures / checks must be put in place to enhance the usage and adoption of E-commerce.
This research will follow a deductive and an explanatory approach where qualitative and quantitative research methods will be used. An explanatory design approach will ensure the variables involved in the research, business and technological elements are related. This research will rely on both primary and secondary data collection techniques. It requires to seek approval from the University’s Ethics Committee and abide to research rules and regulations, particularly in the collection of data.
Primary data will be available from through the face-to-face interviews only; the study sample size will be 30 persons and a minimum of 20 will be sampled, drawn from the head of business units and department key users, which has involved in company’s e-business or e-commerce-related project or dealing in daily business operations. Whereas secondary data shall be collected from the Internet, journals, data already collected, publications such as company reports, textbooks, newspaper articles, and information from the government sources.
The qualitative method will be used to overlook the outcomes of the research hypothesis and develop further study to test and support the research. In regard to the quantitative approach, face-to-face Interview will be the primary tool of research. Face-to-face Interview is preferred due to their validity and reliability. The face-to-face Interview will be simple and both open and closed-ended to enhance high response rate and get more information from the users. Qualitative interviews will be used to verify and clarify the data collected.
For purposes of this study, stratified random sampling technique will be used, to yield an accurate inference. The researchers will endeavour to avoid all sampling errors.
The data analysis process will be captured on a scale that ranges from ‘Disagree’ and ‘Agree’. With the help of the appropriate software like statistical tools. After tabulation the data should be computed using statistical software. The data will be subjected to statistical tests to determine the validity of the data collected and analyzed.
Some common statistical approaches used will be mean and standard deviation. To analyse organizational culture and technological resources on an e-business adoption, a cluster analysis will be used to group organizational traits.
Problems or Opportunities/Limitations
Some of the challenges are discussed are, firstly; lack of scientific training in the method of research turned out to be one of the greatest impediments to the process of research. Secondly, there was constrained of time as research time was limited, consequently, insufficient interaction with the interviewees during the interview and ultimately getting less information. Thirdly, unavailability of published data from government and other agencies relating to the topic of study was observed. Finally, it was also observed that there was a significance variance in the little data published from the agencies.
The research process showed there are more research areas that have not been explored in the field, thus room for improvement on works already done.
This section partially looks at the hazards faced by the company, e-commerce and the users.
The most salient limitation of this analysis is definition and interpretation of our measure of e-commerce activity.
Its observed that there is a rapid shift in this ever evolving and dynamic technology, the business will always feel that its ‘catching up’ and should not be left behind
Problems with compatibility of older and ‘newer’ technology. There are problems where older business systems cannot communicate with web based and Internet infrastructures, leading to some organisations running almost two independent systems where data cannot be shared. This often leads to have to invest in new systems or an infrastructure, which bridges the different systems. In both cases, this is both financially costly as well as disruptive to the efficient running of organisations.
A lack of trust because they are interacting with faceless computers.
Breakdown in human interaction. As people become more used to interacting electronically there could be an erosion of personal and social skills, which might eventually be detrimental to the world we live in where people are more comfortable interacting with a screen than in person.
Many businesses are left behind in the race towards a networked economy. While big organizations can generally muster the resources needed for the networked economy, the challenge is in getting SMEs on board the Internet agenda by working around their resource and skills shortages.
The decision makers particularly the chief executive officers and chief financial officers in most organizations have difficulties in evaluating and adopting Internet strategies. There are many factors affecting decision-making in the adoption of Internet, and knowing the organization’s level of e-readiness can help managers make better decisions