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The design of the ePlatform is based on a conceptual framework on the Web Era's of the e-world. A concise paper will appear in Information and Management in early 2007 (currently in press as of December 31, 2006). A long version of the evolutionary view of the Web will be provided next. The architecture of an e-Platform to conduct businesses, e.g., planning and execution of collaborative logistics services for a shipment request, was first published in Chapter 5 of the book "4th Party Cyber Logistics for Air Cargo" published by Springer (originally by Kluwer Academic Publishers). We will expand the discussion here later. [posted December 31, 2006].

e-Business: An Artifact of the Integrative Web Era

     Beginning around 1995, the World Wide Web revolutionizes business trading, from a reactive information-based e-commerce portal in the early 1990s, to the interactive buy-sell e-commerce website of mid 1990s. An emerging integrative era, in late 1990s to present, beckons the integration of trading activities to core business process. The management of these new and old e-commerce activities becomes an imperative evolutionary impetus. New dimension V integral interoperability - is beginning to emerge in some websites. Coupled with interactivity, websites seek to develop capability to integrate processes online. No longer are websites used merely for online trading activities (e-commerce activities), but also for the online management of business processes (e-business processes). This is the era that witnesses the emergence of e-business processes such as e-supply-chain-management, e-collaboration, e-reengineering, and e-procurement. Here, e-commerce activities and e-business processes are intertwined online, creating a genre of websites that are both marketplaces and management platforms. Management of business processes can be conducted concurrently with commerce activities to achieve online concurrence in design, marketing, and business-process management. Such websites facilitate collaborations, strategic alliances and provide one-stop business services. In essence, websites have evolved from a two-way interactive environment to an any-to-any integrative platform of business management and commerce.

     On the other hand, online decision support system is still at its infancy. We believe that online DSS is likely to play a significant role in the next phase of e-evolution. Particularly, DSS is a key to the provision of online knowledge management and sharing, a critical e-business process of the future. As companies leverage the knowledge-rich Web to conduct effective e-business processes, websites with knowledge management capability will proliferate. Companies and industries will need to re-engineer their internal and external processes to tap into this powerful resource.

     To be continued... [Posted: December 31, 2006]


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