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The challenges and benefits of next generation e-business

Flexibility, innovation top companies wish list

Synopsis: What can companies expect from the Internet in two to three years? More importantly, what new capabilities do they most need for their e-business strategies? Some Internet experts shared their vision of the next generation Internet and outlined the benefits and challenges facing companies in the near future.

Next generation Internet

Within the next two years, the Internet will improve in several key areas. These include:

  • Increased bandwidth - for faster online transactions at lower cost
  • Ability to reserve bandwidth - so companies can ensure high-performance transactions
  • More capabilities - including the ability to support higher levels of multi-media, such as smooth, real-time visual interfaces
  • Pervasive computing - enabling network connections to "billions of devices - from very sophisticated ones, to very, very simple ones"

Next generation e-business

From recent survey to over 800 companies, companies want an Internet environment that offers the following:

  • Robustness
  • High availability
  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to innovate

Of the five answers given, the ability to innovate and flexibility ranked as most important to companies.

Innovation is key

Companies recognize that evolving e-business technologies bring new challenges along with benefits. The foremost challenge facing companies was the need to continuously innovate.

People were concerned about the threat of new, innovative companies siphoning off their customers. Therefore, companies said they need an environment with the capabilities that allow them to quickly transform ideas into new products and services.

Flexible solutions

Flexibility also ranked as very important with the interviewees for three main reasons.

Companies believe that the Internet environment is changing too fast to predict how it will look in two to three years. Flexible solutions will allow companies to make small periodic changes to their infrastructure as technology and demand dictate.

Also, companies need a flexible, integrated environment to support both their physical environment as well as their existing and emerging Web environments. Customers must be recognized for their transactions and relationship with the business, whether they transact online or shop at the physical store.

Finally, companies want a flexible infrastructure which allows them to quickly package different processes and information for the customer's benefit.

e-business challenges

While existing businesses and new enterprises share the same e-business goal, each has a unique set of challenges toward reaching that goal.

Existing businesses usually have an existing IT infrastructure that they must better integrate and get to market. These businesses must strive to innovate, to break the rules and go make that happen before anybody else.

The challenge for new "net gen" companies is to ask "how do I build underneath this very innovative business model an increasingly reliable infrastructure so that, as you grow...the business side continues to work really well and you can easily expand those capabilities."

Within two to three years, the Internet will offer a host of new capabilities, including faster access and a much more pervasive reach. Along with these improvements come challenges. In an recent survey, companies said they want the next generation to provide them with flexible applications in an environment that allows them to quickly execute and bring to market new ideas.

To be able to catch the wind change in the Internet sky, we recommend the following open source software that will help companies shorten their time to market efforts:

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