This article is continuation of part V. The term e-company describes digital collaboration between companies. Companies that are legally independent of one another have the opportunity with the help of such electronic cooperations to appear as one company and to offer the joint service as such. There were essentially three reasons that could be blamed for the rise in electronic collaborations:
- Buyer’s market: Due to the change in the market from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market, many companies have to adapt their products more to the needs of their customers. Examples of this are increased customer service or a better price-performance ratio.
- Globalization: Globalization is the expansion of the field of trade in geographical terms. Globalization contributes to the fact that goods can be transported more easily worldwide, whereby the transport costs are reduced.
- Organizational structures: As companies change frequently, it is necessary that there are organizational structures. These should be flexible enough to be able to adapt to structural changes.
With the help of the E-Company, these challenges have gone now.
Since several companies work together in an e-company, a basis must be created from a technical point of view so that the companies can also work together in technical terms. To do this, the requirements of the company must be known so that the right interfaces can be created. Based on these interfaces, virtual workspaces and virtual teams can now be created, which then work together in the virtual company.
Virtual companies consist of several companies that are legally independent of one another. These companies join forces to operate as a single entity in the market. A company or brand is presented to the customer even though there are several parties involved. This also obscures who made what contribution to the final performance. Another goal of virtual companies is to benefit as much as possible from the cooperation partner. Therefore, the one whose competencies best match the requirements is chosen. With the help of the knowledge and ideally the market share of both parties, attempts are made to increase their market share.
Virtual teams consist of employees from different companies who can work together with the help of collaboration tools regardless of time and place. These teams can be represented using six dimensions:
- Location: This category represents the location dependency. A distinction is made here between one location or several locations.
- Time: The employees can work together at the same time or at different times . Time independence is particularly important for international companies with greater time differences.
- Type of cooperation: A distinction is made between direct and mediating communication. The more information technologies are used for communication, the more virtual the collaboration becomes.
- Time dependency: With the time limit, there is the possibility of working together on a longer-term basis on the one hand and order-oriented on the other. This is where a decision is made as to whether a team should be dissolved immediately after an order or whether it should be retained for longer-term projects
- Mobility: There are two options on this point. Team members either get a permanent workplace or they are deployed flexibly, for example at the customer’s site.
- Diversity: The sixth and last dimension deals with the different characteristics and characters of the members
Virtual workplaces are technological solutions designed to facilitate digital collaboration. For this purpose, one relies on applications that are independent of both time and location. This results in four options for employees to carry out their work:
- Mobile: Employees can carry out their work from anywhere using their smartphone or notebook. Contact with the partner depends on the employee’s communication link.
- Home-based: Employees can work from home under certain conditions and in compliance with company guidelines. However, the workplace must be set up in a company-compliant manner.
- Central: The company provides office space for employees that is as close as possible to their locations. These premises then function as branches of the company and communication takes place predominantly via landline or the Internet.
- On-site: In larger companies, employees are sent to the customer to work on site. This means that the employee is in direct contact with the customer and can better respond to customer requests. Here, too, communication with one’s own company is predominantly carried out via the landline network or the Internet.
Online marketing is defined by the use of networked information technologies concerning the sales policy of a company to optimize the product, price, sales and communication policy by adhering to and using the technical conditions and possibilities of online communication. A large number of instruments are available for the implementation of the online strategy, which is specifically assigned to the communication policy of the classic marketing mix:
- Banner marketing: Banner marketing deals with the placement of advertising messages on non-company sites. When choosing the advertising partner, attention must be paid to a topic-relevant reference. The prices for the banner placement are set either for each click on the banner (click-through) or per thousand visitors to the website on which the banner is placed (TKP). Furthermore, a distinction can be made between different sizes and placements.
- Video marketing: In video marketing, a distinction can be made between product videos and company videos. These are shown either on your website or on other websites. Video portals like youtube.com or social networks like Facebook are ideal for broadcasting the videos. These should, on the one hand, contain interesting content, an appropriate duration, the best possible technical reproduction with correct sound quality, and on the other hand a concluding call-to-action, which calls the observer to take action.
- Email marketing: In email marketing, selected target groups are specifically addressed by email. By clicking in newsletters, the potential customers are taken directly to the company’s website. Compared to traditional mailing, the preparation and sending of e-mails are a simpler and more cost-effective alternative.
- Affiliate Marketing: In Affiliate Marketing, it is agreed that the partner (affiliate) presents predetermined products of the cooperation partner (merchant) on his side and receives a commission for each successful transaction. The final remuneration can include various models.
- Search engine marketing: Search engine marketing deals with measures which should lead to a more comfortable placement on the search engine result lists. Most attention is usually only paid to the first three results. To improve the results, you can choose between the unpaid and paid areas. With many search engines, a fee can get a preferred position for certain search terms in the upper area of the hit list (paid listing).
- Social media marketing: Social media marketing means the use of marketing instruments in social networks. The advantages here are the proximity to the customer, direct and interactive communication, the expansion of the range and the use of recommendation mechanisms. However, the loss of control over possible negative comments and their dissemination in social networks increases the risk of damage to the company’s image.