Implications of E-Mail Use to Business

We will look at how the Internet has changed overall patterns of business communications, but what about the practical realities for employees? Many of the issues involve e-mail. What is the main sort of problems that arise which need to be managed?

Guy Galboiz, a technology CEO as well as internet expert, outlines implications of using emails.
First, the issue of legal liability which in several high-profile cases, employees have criticized competitors or made unrealistic comments about their performance in e-mails which have later been forwarded outside the company. When the competitors have found out they have successfully sued other companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars. When companies send out commercial e-mails, they are subject to data protection law and they must follow guidelines.

Second, there are the resourcing implications. Search the BBC News site on e-mail overload and you will see the extent of the problem. It is now very common for employees to receive and send hundreds of e-mails per week. A worker may spend hours each day just answering e-mails. It seems that the ease and lower cost of communicating electronically has led to more messages being transmitted, many of which are unnecessary news circulated around everyone in the company, or alternatively, employees spending time socializing on the company’s time. The growth of SPAM or unsolicited commercial e-mail, which we will look at in the next section, also increases the amount of time needed to manage e-mail. With millions of messages, many with multimedia components, needing to be held on companies’ servers the hardware resources needed have also increased.

Third, there are the privacy implications. Companies may monitor their employees e-mail. Is this a breach of trust, or is its legitimate analysis to ensure that employees spend time on company business and sensitive information does not leave the company?

Finally, there is the problem of flame mails or flaming spirals where a manager may send an abusive e-mail, saying things which they would not dare say face-to-face rather than confronting a colleague face-to-face. Naturally an abusive e-mail is often followed by an abusive response and the situation deteriorates as the parties become further apart.


Threats to Information Security for e-Business

For all the opportunities that the Internet provides for business and consumers, it can also pose a great risk to information belonging to those businesses and consumers. The Internet provides a gateway to a range of information, but also provides a gateway for malicious programs developed by malicious people to corrupt and destroy information. A key role of the IT manager or e-commerce manager is to protect their business from these threats. Remember that the business is also custodian for customer data and if customer data such as credit card numbers are lost, then this will reflect badly on the business. “Fears over security used to be one of the main barriers to consumer and business adoption to the Internet, but this has declined dramatically over the last 5 years. “”, explains Guy Galboiz, an internet marketing consultant. Nevertheless, demonstrating security is still important to consumer confidence. Witness, the efforts that businesses take to reassure customers about security and privacy.

What then are the threats? General threats to information can be classified as follows:

  • Accidents – These are errors arising from mistakes by staff. For example, it is surprisingly easy for a webmaster to delete many key files of a web site.
  • Natural Disasters – These include fire and flood. If a company host their own e-commerce server or their ISP is affected by such a disaster, then it is possible that their web presence could be lost for several days in the event of a flood.
  • Sabotage (Industrial and Individual) – This is deliberate sabotage of a system possibly for commercial gain or due to an individual grudge such as an ex-employee.
  • Theft – This is theft of information such as credit card numbers, for commercial gain.
  • Unauthorized Use (Hacking) – This can be for the purposes of theft or sabotage, but sometimes it has no malicious intention – it is a challenge for technically minded people to try to break into systems.
  • Hijacking – A company’s web server may be used to mount attacks on other servers. For example, Denial of Service attacks to send a lot of unwanted traffic to major sites such as Yahoo! were mounted by sending messages from many hijacked computers. Similarly, Spammers can hijack a mail server and use it for sending SPAM. This could result in your web operations being shut down by the ISP if they believe you are to blame.
  • Computer Viruses – these are programs which spread between machines with, or without the intention of causing damage. As we will see in a later section, there are a great variety of viruses.

To prevent these types of problems, it is important that someone in the business is responsible. This is typically, the IT manager or e-commerce manager in a larger company, but if a business is small, there may not be an IT manager, so another manager will need to do this as part of their role. In fact, it may not be able to complete prevent these types of problems, since as we will see later there are so many hundreds of thousands of viruses, with a new one discovered every few seconds that it is likely that defenses may be breached. Given this, an approach based on risk management is a useful one. Risk management uses the following approach.

  1. Identify risks including their probabilities and impacts
  2. Identify possible solutions to these risks
  3. Implement the solutions targeting the highest impact, most likely risks.
  4. Monitor the risks to learn for future risk assessment

For all the opportunities that the Internet provides for business and consumers, it can also pose a great risk to information belonging to those businesses and consumers. The Internet provides a gateway to a range of information, but also provides a gateway for malicious programs developed by malicious people to corrupt and destroy information. A key role of the IT manager or e-commerce manager is to protect their business from these threats. Remember that the business is also custodian for customer data and if customer data such as credit card numbers are lost, then this will reflect badly on the business. Fears over security used to be one of the main barriers to consumer and business adoption to the Internet, but this has declined dramatically over the last 5 years. Nevertheless, demonstrating security is still important to consumer confidence. Witness, the efforts that e-tailers take to reassure customers about security and privacy.

 


Evaluating Technology Innovations

Managers need to assess different levels of technology innovation. On a large scale, managers in the mid-1990s had to assess the relevance of e-business and e-commerce to their organizations. For those that have accepted its relevance, there are smaller-scale, more detailed innovations to evaluate. For example, personalization technology is intended to enhance the customer’s online experience and increase their loyalty. For example, Silicon.com uses personalization to tailor information for IT managers. Online bookstores use personalization to tailor offers to past purchasers. While the benefits may be clear to media or e-tail sites, other managers will need to assess its relevance to them. A technique such as personalization requires a large investment in software and hardware technology such as Broadvision or Engage to be able to implement it effectively. How does the manager decide whether to proceed and which solution to adopt? Guy Galboiz, an entrepreneur and technology consultant provides insights that a manager may need if he has to evaluate several articles in the trade and general press which has highlighted an opportunity or need, and they then face a difficult decision as to whether:

  • ignore the use of the technique, perhaps because it is felt to be too expensive, untried, or they simply don’t believe the benefits will outweigh the costs.
  • enthusiastically adopt the technique without a detailed evaluation since the hype alone convinces the manager that the technique should be adopted.
  • evaluate the technique and then take a decision whether to adopt it according to the evaluation.

Depending on the attitude of the manager, this behavior can be summarized as:

  1. Cautious, ‘wait and see’ approach.
  2. Risk taking, early adopter approach.
  3. Intermediate approach.

Academics have identified a common process that occurs when new products are introduced to a market. This is the diffusion-adoption process and is represented by the bell-curve in the Those in trial new products were identified as innovators, early adopter, early majority, late majority, to the laggards.

Diffusion-adoption curve

The Diffusion-adoption curve can be used in two main ways as an analytical tool to help managers understand the adoption process. First it can be used to understand the stage at which customers are in adoption of a technology, or any product. For example, the Internet is now a well-established tool and in many developed countries we are into the late majority phase of adoption with larger numbers of users of services. This suggests it is essential to use this medium for marketing purposes. But if we look at WAP mobile phone Internet access we are in the innovator phase, so investment now may be wasted since it is not clear how many will adopt the product. Secondly, managers can look at adoption of a new technique by other businesses – from an organizational perspective. For example, an online supermarket could look at how many other e-trailers have adopted personalization to evaluate whether it is worthwhile adopting the technique.

Having the capabilities to respond to innovation are a strategic issue for businesses. For success these are some of the factors that have been identified:

Growth orientation – a long rather than short-term vision

Vigilance – the capability of environment scanning

Commitment to technology – willingness to invest in technology

Acceptance of risk – willingness to take managed risks

Cross functional co-operation – capability for collaboration across functional areas

Receptivity – the ability to respond to externally developed technology

Slack – allowing time to investigate new technological opportunities

Adaptability – a readiness to accept change

Diverse range of skills – technical and business skills and experience

 


Guy Galboiz

3 Technologies that Will Change the Way We Live in 2018

Yes, technology is changing at a very rapid pace and each year we are facing some new, interesting challenges that are overcome thanks to its power. But how can technology actually change the way we live? The reason here is simple, we use technology in order to solve day to day problems, but actually changing the way we live via technology seems like an overstatement for some people. But is it the case or not?  Guy Galboiz, CEO for a technology company,  created a small list with some of the technologies that we believe they are going to change the future and our lives in 2018.

The internet of things

Sure, we already have an iteration of IOE, but this is not perfect. Thankfully, the internet of things is getting better and better to the point where the value will be more than impressive and interesting all the time. We can expect new devices to become a part of the internet of things, not to mention that there is lots of quality to be had in the end as well. Can we expect more challenges in the end? Absolutely, because the internet of things evolves and grows all the time. However, we expect 2018 to be the year when this will be largely accessible and very easy to use.

Self driving cars

Obviously, this is one of the most important technologies that can change our lives and 2018 seems like the best year when this particular tech will start working properly. There is a lot of challenge to be had when it comes to making these cars drive in a proper manner. With the right tech and a good production value, we can expect self driving cars to be amazing and nothing short of impressive in the long term. Hopefully we will have some extraordinary results in the end with this type of vehicles, although only time will tell!

Tech implants

Yes, implants that will be integrated seamlessly in our body and which will allow us to interact with any desired software product. It may seem like sci-fi to you, but it is possible and it can happen. When it will happen? 2018 sounds like a great year for this, although we do have to focus on the potential tech evolution this year. One thing is certain, more and more people are opting for these implants now, however it’s only next year when we can actually see some worthwhile advancements.

Tech is indeed amazing right now and it gets better and better all the time. You certainly have tons of value right in front of you, so hopefully things will end up getting better and better as you explore all the options. It’s safe to say that there is a lot of value to be had by integrating tech in our day to day lives, it all comes down to us to make the most out of it sooner rather than later, that’s for sure. Hopefully this will happen in 2018.