Information Sharing in Business Network
Need for information sharing
With the advent of e-commerce and business networking, most businesses rely on the information they receive through internet. The businesses are now part of a distributed production chain wherein their products need to be supplied within specified deadlines to the customer.
The businesses themselves may rely on many local or international suppliers themselves to provide items needed for manufacturing of their products. Moreover, when customers are hunting for products to suit their requirements, the information provided by the business about their products becomes very vital and decisive.
With the advent of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Systems Applications and Products (SAP), the financial implications of managing product assets and order based production methodology are followed by most businesses. Enterprise Resource Planning and Systems Applications and Products rely heavily on the business information fed for effective utilization. These tools have enabled the effective control and running of product production lines efficiently.
Since these tools help in predicting when supplies are required in a production phase, the amount of stored inventory is greatly reduced. Stored inventory and raw materials are vital in the financial point of view since they are business assets with fluctuating market value.
Considering these aspects of e-business, the companies need this vital information to determine the realistic delivery schedule based on their production process, supply time needed by their suppliers, and customer requirements. Business success is determined by sustained reliability and performance over a long period of time. The customers also depend on the information provided by the businesses.
Advantages of information sharing in a Business Network
There are several advantages which information sharing in a business network provides when compared with the traditional methods.
Business Management: The information obtained from the business networks also help in improved order processing and automated handling. Also for the production lines, this information is vital in deciding the work flow process and greatly aid in Inventory management. This information can also be used for advanced features such as Data mining, forecasting, managing export and import, and statistical analysis of the business products and performance.
Business Advertising: The highly competitive market is dependent on importance of the information about products which a business deals with. Providing extended information bringing out the advantages of products is very essential. The business networks help in creating professional Product Catalogs, and Product Information Management which acts as their key adverting and business opportunity creator. Also E-Mail campaigns, Coupons, Special Discounts and other features form part of this aspect.
Product Search: The most desired requirement in a big business enterprise is the ability to perform Product Search with user defined filtering. The product search also has features that enable Product rating and Product Comparison.
Customer Management: Since business networks deal with a large customer base, there is need for creating automated portals for aiding its customers buy or sell products. Features such as Customer Accounts, Shopping Cart and forums can be useful for collecting vital Customer opinions, reviews and rating about the products to aid in handling a large international customer base. The Multiple Language is also a key feature which helps in information sharing with international customers.
Payment Processing: Since the customers are located globally, effective payment handling and processing, dealing with fluctuating currency exchange rates are part of the vital information exchange which a business network provides for.
Order Processing: Nowadays the Customers demand complete visibility into the order processing chain from the instant an order is placed. They need information about production status, shipping details, customization request processing and also financial transaction information. This information can be provided easily through the business networks though websites, or customized e-Mail notifications.
Need for Information Security in Business Networks
The information security is a very vital part in business networks. With the emerging competitive companies everyday, the need to secure vital business strategies and policies is as important as sharing the information. Information security for a business requires very tight network security controls.
There is a need to adhere to best information security practices. The business should also be aware of the strength and short comings of information security in their network. Companies should take adequate precautions to protect their important business information and take the necessary steps to reinforce security of information.
The business need to formulate an Information Security policy and process in order to keep their businesses secure. A dedicated section with staff is needed to handle these issues. Several consultation and security solutions providers are available on the internet. Their services can also be utilized.
Considering the effect of internet and computers in businesses today, storing and protecting information on electronic media is essential for the business network. There is a need to identify these data storage and transportation into and outside the business. After identifying the information flow path, the next step is to define access rights to this business information. Special Technological and administrative control can be used to monitor and implement information access control. A multi tier information accessibility policy can be implemented to secure the business information.
How to use business network information effectively?
Since all the business activity and transactions starting from order processing to payment are available in electronic media, a variety of software tools can be used to utilise this information for gaining business knowledge and improving the business. The use of Data mining technology helps to extract knowledge from businesses databases automatically and present them in an easy to comprehend format.
These tools help in making a business more competitive and effective in its core business area. Data mining tools provide complete insight into product analysis, market analysis, and information for making vital decisions. The data mining analysis provides patterns and relationship which otherwise are very difficult to predict. Business relies heavily on this resource for analyzing the business network information and making smart business decisions to sustain and grow their business.
The reports and analysis obtained from applying Data mining tools aid in optimizing the business conditions. The data mining technology also helps businesses to utilize their information and data bases for making marketing strategies, market prediction, inventory management, and reducing financial risk.