Mieczkowska, Suzanne; Barnes, David and Hinton, Matthew
Finding the fit: applications of B2B e-business in three UK insurance companies.
Electronic Markets: The International Journal, 12(3),
In information-based industries like insurance, the greater connectivity offered by the Internet offers significant opportunities to reduce costs, increase speed of response and improve supply chain co-operation. Capitalising on these opportunities may depend upon the way that business processes for e-commerce are integrated with existing business processes. This paper reports findings from case studies of three major UK-based insurance companies incorporating e-commerce within their business-to-business operations. It looks at four questions: (1) what are the key features of the business model adopted for clicks-and-mortar e-commerce; (2) to what extent are ?clicks? and ?bricks? business processes and information systems integrated; (3) how are companies managing the way that ?clicks? processes are integrated with ?bricks? processes; and (4) what are the key issues arising from the integration process? All three companies have had to contend with a conservative industry culture and a lack of industry standards in attempting to integrate e-commerce within existing business processes. The companies are either attempting to fully integrate e-operations into existing processes, or they are keeping them quite separate. In either case, the conservative industry culture acts as a brake on greater integration, with the result that IT associated with e-commerce is most often being used to automate, rather than redesign, existing business processes.
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