Internet and World Wide Web technologies provide the infrastructure for the Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce) revolution now taking place. As a result of these technologies, even the smallest organization can afford to market its wares to hundreds of millions of potential e-Consumers. However, these technologies also pose threats to the very electronic commerce which they enable. For managers to strategize and implement e-Commerce effectively in their organizations, these impediments need to be recognized and understood. While hundreds of articles identify problems with Internet computing or conducting e-Commerce, no unified framework of technological impediments specific to e-Commerce yet exists. The goal of this paper is to identify the primary technological impediments to e-Commerce. Six categories of technological impediments have been identified. Those which appear to pose the greatest threats to the development of e-Commerce are: (1)download delays, (2) limitations in the interface, (3) search problems, (4) inadequate measurement of Web application success, (5) security (real and perceived) weaknesses, and (6) a lack of Internet standards. Associated costs, threats, and limitations specific to e-Commerce are also identified and implications explored. The paper concludes with an assessment of ways to mitigate these obstacles, including design choices, workarounds, and emerging technological solutions. A bibliography of 296 relevant trade press articles is included in the appendix.
This tutorial presents and extends ideas presented in an article with the same title published recently in the Communications of AIS. (Alter, 1999). The basic idea is that the concept of work system provides an effective framework for studying almost any kind of information system. The meaning and significance of an information system is not in the information system itself, but rather, in the work system(s) it supports. The tutorial explains the elements of a work system and shows how the work system concept can be used as a common denominator for systems in operation and for projects. It shows how this concept can be used to understand topics including alternative roles of information systems, plumbing vs. content in information systems, success factors and other generalizations about systems, and various aspects of IS research.