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  1. Internet Developments • Description of applications of on-line database systems including: • Content Management Systems; • Customer Relationship Management; & • E-commerce Platforms. • Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues: • cost effectiveness, security, • flexibility and adaptability, • ongoing support and development by a community of users. • Description of applications and features of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): • transaction standardisation, • translation software, • communications, and legal restrictions.

  2. Database Connectivity • Description and exemplification of the requirements for connection to database: • server username/password, • server address, • database name. • Description of use of a server-based database management tool/application: • to connect a database client to a database server • to create/modify/delete table structures

  3. Structured Query Language • Exemplification and application of the uses of SQL to create simple and complex queries: • Data Manipulation Language (DML) — Insert, Update, Delete • Data Query Language (DQL) • Keywords or clauses of the select statement — Select, From, Where, Order By • Logical Operators — Is Null, Between, In, Like, Exists, Unique, All and Any • Negating Conditions with the Not Operator — Not Equal, Not Between, Not In, Not Like, Is Not Null, Not Exists, Not Unique • Aggregate Functions — Count, Sum, Max, Min, Avg • Sorting and Grouping Data — Group By, Order By • Equi-joins/inner joins

  4. Application Development • Description and exemplification of server-side scripting language for server connection, database selection, execution of SQL queries and extraction of results. • Description and exemplification of forms processing to insert and amend data. • Description of structure of HTML forms including: • the <form> element and its action and method attributes • the <input> element and its type, name and value attributes • the <button> element and its type, name and value attributes

  5. Description of an on-line database system • An online database system is any database system which is accessed via a client/server network. A typical ODBS consists of a web server, a scripting language and a database management system and its associated database or databases. The databases are typically relational files which hold data. • Typically, a client web browser is used to request a page from the web server. The resulting page is generated by the web server, the scripting language and the database backend. When the client browser requests a page from a web site, the following steps occur: • The web server receives the request via HTTP for a particular web page and resolves and retrieves the requested file. • Depending on the nature of the file (i.e., if contains scripted code), it is processed using the scripting engine. • The script is executed and performs database queries as necessary. • The scripting language engine uses the results of the database queries to construct an HTML document, returning it to the web server and, finally, to the client.

  6. Description of an on-line database system • PHP is a server-side scripting language. With PHP installed, your Web server will be able to read a new kind of file (called a "PHP script") that can do things like retrieve up-to-the-minute information from a database and insert it into a Web page before sending it to the browser that requested it. PHP is completely free to download and use. • To retrieve information from a database, you first need to have a database management system. That's where Oracle SQL comes in. Oracle SQL is a relational database management system- RDBMS. Oracle SQL makes information really easy to get at using server-side scripting languages like PHP.

  7. Description of an on-line database system – the architecture. • An online database system is made up of a number of different servers. A server is a term that can have multiple meanings in computing. It can mean a computer system used as the centre of a network and it can be a piece of software which provides some kind of service. • A typical small hardware web server will consist of two server programs (a web server and a database server) and at least one scripting language. • The web server is the application which receives all requests from clients for content.

  8. Description of an on-line database system – Advantages • Customers go to the web site to check out the status of their order, and also to see this week's special offers and price list. • Sales representatives come to the site to view collections of orders, shipments, warehouse stock, the status of orders, and the latest list of sales bonuses for items in the catalogue. • Managers log in to the site to review summaries of sales details, sales performance, targets and so on. • Other people may also be served through the Web site - suppliers, sales vendors, investors … the mind reels at the possibilities.

  9. Description of an on-line database system – Disadvantages • The main disadvantages of Online database systems relation to the hardware and infrastructure required to operate them and the security of the software and data used by the system. • The cost of the hardware used by an online database system will relate directly to the size of the organisation, the number of expected users of the system and the amount of data stored. • A small organisation with a few thousand customers and perhaps less than fifty simultaneous users can happily operate a database server and web server on a dedicated desktop PC.

  10. Description of an on-line database system – Disadvantages • An additional cost for smaller systems is factoring in "scalability" into the design of the system. As an organisation grows it gains users and requires greater amounts of data storage and processing power. Some organisations build in this capability to "scale" their online database system in response to the growth in their business. This scalability normally involves some cost in terms of the hardware and software used. • A large organisation with thousands of simultaneous users will require multiple dedicated web and database servers, each carefully configured and synchronised, to ensure that the same data is available to all users. • Essentially, the larger the organisation, the more costly the ODBS will be and the more complex the system will be to design, implement and maintain.

  11. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management Systems • A content management system (CMS) is a computer software system for organising and allowing collaborative creation of documents and other web content. • A content management system is a web application used for managing websites and web content. • They can be used for storage and single sourcing of documentation for an organisation.

  12. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management Systems • CMS packages are designed to assist web masters with the three main challenges of managing large web sites: • Content Ownership/contribution • Structured Data - separating content from style • Dynamic delivery/Interactive - managing interactive web sites

  13. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management Systems • Content Ownership Contribution • If a CMS is not used then there is often a delay between content generation and content publication. • Consider an announcement from the research and development unit in a large company. • The R and D unit write the announcement and then email it to the web master. The master then reads the announcement, generates the HTML code, links the announcement into the existing site code and then uploads the changed files to the web site. • Content management systems help to remove this bottleneck by empowering users to create their own content and, depending on their security privileges, publish the content on the live web site. The user creates the content using the tools provided by the CMS and can upload images and other content items as required.

  14. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management Systems • Users of the CMS can be allocated differing levels of access. • Some may just view content, others create it for others to approve, and others may be allowed to created and publish content or approve content posted by other users for publication. • The concept of multiple authorship is an important one when you consider that some web sites run to thousands of pages. • By allowing levels of users to contribute and manage content the CMS provides the web master with a set of tools which devolve the process of content generation and management to departments with in the organisation, therefore, freeing the web master of this responsibility and allowing him/her to focus on other tasks. • In addition, this content creation places ownership of the content with the contributing users. These users can be directly responsible for updating and maintaining their content and accountable when content is incorrect, flawed or contains errors.

  15. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Structured Data • The essence of any content management system is the separation of content from presentation. It should be possible for the web master to change the entire look and feel of the web site without changing the content. This is achieved by separating the content entirely from the presentation of the pages. • What is content? Content is any data stored within the site. This includes all the posts from users, articles, news features, file downloads, forum sessions and so on but also includes the structure of the site such as the site map (how the site links together), the menus and navigation presented to the users, and configuration information about the site (such as the site address, the database server etc). The essential information required to connect to a database server is normally held in a configuration file and the remaining data stored the relational database. • This separation allows the web master to completely change the presentation of the data on the site with changing the data. This is achieved by changing the template/stylesheet used by the content management system to present the data.

  16. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Dynamic Delivery/Interactivity • A static web site provides few, if any, tools to encourage interaction with the site's audience. • In order to attract visitors and keep them coming back, a site has to have constantly updating content and an opportunity for visitors to interact with the site. Web sites are not there to be looked at. They are there to be interacted with. If an organisation puts up an electronic version of a static brochure, no one will come back. Most organisations' brochures and information are fairly dull documents. So are static web sites. In order to be successful, web sites need to be lively, interesting and informative.

  17. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • NEWS • News management using a CMS relates to the management of articles, press releases, content items which make up part of a web site. There are a number of common features of news management which most content management systems possess to a greater or lesser extend. • The CMS will allow administrators and other users with the correct access privileges to create, amend and delete news posts. • News items and other content can be scheduled to become live and to expire at particular times. This allows content authors to create content in advance and to specify when that content will become available to users. • Web sites can be kept current by specifying expiry dates for content - this sets a lifespan for the content. In some situations it is better retain old content as an archive than remove it from the system entirely.

  18. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • CMS offer some control over the order on news articles or posts. Often there is a default order for these items, such by title or date of posting. With most CMS’s it is possible to change this order to meet the needs of the organisation. • Access controls permit or deny access to content based on the access privileges of specific users. When news posts or other content access are created they can be allocated user level i.e. only for registered users. This allows all users of privilege "registered" and above to access this content. • Most content management systems provide tools to manage the media elements which are a major part of a successful web site. The CMS tools allow the user to upload, move and delete media files without requiring additional FTP software. • In addition, more advanced CMS systems allow additional information to be stored with the media elements to assist content creators. This metadata may content details of the media element author, a description of the element, an easy to refer to name as so on.

  19. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Forums • A forum is a facility of the content management systems for holding discussions. A sense of virtual community often develops around forums that have regular users. Technology, computer games, and politics are popular areas for forum themes, but there are forums for a huge number of different topics. • Forums are also commonly referred to as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, discussion forums, discussion groups, bulletin boards or simply forums.

  20. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Forums • If a CMS based web site it to be truly interactive then a forum of some kind is essential. • The barebones definition of a forum is the ability for people to start threads and reply to other people's threads. • Someone posts a message which is visible to everyone, you read it and then have the option to post a reply which will also be visible to everyone, thus a discussion can build up without all users having to be online at the same time. • However, most forum software provides considerably more than this.

  21. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Forums • Most forum software allows more than one forum to be created. These forums are containers for threads started by the user community. Depending on the permissions of community users as defined by the forum's web master, they can post replies to existing threads and start new threads as they wish. • Users of the CMS site register using a username and a password, and possibly an e-mail address for validation purposes. In these types of CMS based forums, the members are often able to customise both how their posts display to others and how the board appears to them. Username-based software may provide for anonymity by allowing visitors to post without registration. • The CMS will allow the forum administrator or moderator to edit, delete, move or otherwise modify any thread on the forum. • Threads in a forum are either flat (posts are listed in chronological order) or threaded (each post is made in reply to a parent post).

  22. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Ratings • In content management systems, rating means a reputation system, it is a type of collaborative tool which attempts to determine ratings for a collection of content items and/or users, given a collection of opinions held by users about those content items / users. • A rating system allows the users of a site to express their opinion about content items available within the site. Users give a rating to content items, forum posts, individual users, in fact just about any element of the CMS content can be rated.

  23. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • There are a number of different styles of rating systems: • Karma is used to reflect a general opinion about a user. Each user starts with a Karma of zero. Registered users can increase or decrease this karma rating by one, often in response to forum posts or comments made by the user. Over time user will gain a positive or negative karma rating from the votes of his or her peers. • Number ratings scales allow each user to rate an element of content using a numbered scale. The number of votes and the average rating can then be shown with the content item so that users can determine the rating score of the item and how representative the rating is. • CMSs can automatically generate ratings using preset criteria. For example, a user of the system can automatically be ranked according to the number of posts they make to a forum. The system automatically rewards the user for his/her participation with the system by awarding them with a rank. The more a user contributes to the CMS the greater the status of the award.

  24. Description of an on-line database system – Content Management System • Templates • Templates are essential when constructing a web site using a content management system. The content is already separated from the branding or presentation but the only way to make your web site look different from every other site constructed using the same CMS is to develop and apply your own unique template. • A template consists of two main elements: the layout of the web page and the styles used with in it. The layout is normally coded using a web based programming language (such as PHP or ASP) and the styles are stored in a standard cascading style sheet (.css). • Most CMS template systems make extensive use of cascading style sheets to create a consistent look and feel to the CMS generated web site. This means that consistent styles for titles, headings, body text, hyperlinks etc, will be established by the CSS.

  25. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Customer relationship management (CRM) is a straightforward idea. Collect all available information about customers and use it. • The primary objective of a CRM program is the continuous improvement of the relationships between a business and its customers. • CRM software connects as many points as possible concerning a customer's experience with the company. From marketing to customer service, CRM emphasises the importance of collecting customer data at each step of the business/customer relationship. After collection, the customer data is distributed to various departments within each business, so CRM includes not only data collection on a massive scale, but also the development of communication channels in order to make the most of the collected data.

  26. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Advantages • Faster sales: • Quite simply, CRM removes some of the guesswork from the sales process because of the information made available by data collection. • Easier marketing: • As business staff compile data on the behaviour of customers from different socioeconomic backgrounds and areas, the marketing department should find it easier to determine how to market products to those different groups. • Increased cross sales: • As a business increases the scope and depth of its customer data collection, opportunities for cross sales among existing customers should become more noticeable. Cross selling involves identifying customers who have purchased a specific product in order to sell them similar or related products. Amazon.co.uk is one of many retailers who use this method to generate extra sales.

  27. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Any CRM application consists of the three parts: • Operational CRM • Analytical CRM • Collaborative CRM • Each part meets a particular business need and supports the development and maintenance of customer relationships.

  28. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Operational CRM: • Operational CRM means supporting the "front office" business processes, which include customer contact. Tasks resulting from these processes are forwarded to employees responsible for them, as well as the information necessary for carrying out the tasks and interfaces to back-end applications are being provided and activities with customers are being documented for further reference. • Operational CRM provides the following benefits: • Delivers personalised and efficient marketing, sales, and service through multi-channel collaboration. Each customer's experience of interacting with the business is tailored personalised. The business knows which products the customer previously purchased, when the customer's birthday is, how frequently the customer makes purchases and can, therefore, make the customer feel as if the business knows then very well. • Enables a 360-degree view of your customer while you are interacting with them. When any of the staff employed by a business are dealing with a customer, that customer's complete history and details can be displayed on screen, allowing the staff member to understand the customer's needs.

  29. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Operational CRM – Sales Force Automation: • SFA automates some of the company's critical sales and sales force management functions. These functions typically include: • Lead/account management: managing sales leads • Contact management: managing the contact details of customers and suppliers. • Quote management: the production and storage of quotes for customers. • Forecasting: projecting future sales based on existing customer information. • Sales administration: deal with the mechanics of sales, processing payments, invoices, receipts etc. • Keeping track of customer preferences, buying habits, and demographics: • Performance management: allows the management of a business to track the performance of staff. • SFA tools are designed to improve field sales productivity. It is vital that all sales personnel are connected to the SFA tools. This might mean that traveling sales people are connected to the system via a laptop internet connection or mobile phone and so on.

  30. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Operational CRM – Customer Services and Support: • CSS automates some service requests, complaints, product returns, and information requests. • Using technology to address the needs of customer service and support is important, especially for businesses receiving a high volume of customer calls, e-mails, and other customer interactions. • Here are some common characteristics of these applications: • All transactions happen in real-time; • Due to its high volume and underlying patterns, the data is highly structured; • Uptime must be close to 100% to sustain critical operations (e.g. reservations); • Backup and recovery must be robust with minimal loss of data; • Reporting is often done in batch processes and as such is static and not in real time. • Key infrastructure requirements of CSS include computer telephony integration (CTI) which provides high volume processing capability, and reliability.

  31. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Operational CRM – Enterprise Marketing Automation: • EMA provides information about the business environment, including competitors, industry trends, and environmental variables such as interest rates and so on. It is the execution side of advertising campaign and lead management. The intent of EMA applications is to improve marketing campaign efficiencies. • An EMA system will examine the existing customer data held by an organisation and identify likely candidates for marketing. This is known as customer segmentation and involves dividing a customer base into groups of individuals that are similar in specific ways relevant to marketing, such as age, gender, interests, spending habits, and so on. Traditional segmentation focuses on identifying customer groups based on demographics and attributes such as attitude and psychological profiles. Value-based segmentation, on the other hand, looks at groups of customers in terms of the revenue they generate and the costs of establishing and maintaining relationships with them. • Once the target group or groups have been identified, the marketing campaign can be managed using the EMA tools. The concept of EMA is that better targeting of marketing will increase its effectiveness and increase revenues based on responses.

  32. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Analytical CRM: • In analytical CRM systems, data gathered within operational CRM and/or other sources is analysed to segment customers or to identify potential to enhance client relationship. Analytics CRM tools are concerned with discovering new information about customers and finding ways to add value to the relationship by targeting additional products or services. • Customer analysis typically can lead to targeted campaigns to increase the amount of spending from each customer. Examples of campaigns directed towards customers are: • Acquisition: Identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. • Retention: Retaining customers who may leave due to the length of time they have been customers or those who may leave because they have a better offer from a competitor. • Information: Providing timely and regular information to customers. • Modification: Altering details of the transactional nature of the customers' relationship.

  33. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Analytical CRM: • At the foundation of Analytical CRM are customer-based data and approaches. Data must be organised and managed at the customer level with historical detail covering purchasing and returns behaviour, contacts with customer service, payment behaviour, and marketing response behaviour. This initial data gathering is the function of the operational CRM. • The goal is to maximize the value of your customers over the entire relationship with the customer, not for a single marketing campaign. The analytical CRM software tools can be used to intelligently mine the CRM database for information about customers and produce a variety of information. The output of this analysis can be lists of customers for marketing purposes, customer support and so on. • Analytical CRM tools import data from the CRM database and other sources. These collated data sources are then used to generate a number of subsets of data (called data marts) which are used by a particular group of employees (such as the marketing team or customer support team). These data marts might include historical data, analysis of sales, measurements of the performance of particular sales people and so on.

  34. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Collaborative CRM: • Collaborative CRM is an approach to customer relationship management (CRM) in which the various departments of a company, such as sales, technical support, and marketing, share any information they collect from interactions with customers. For example, customer feedback gathered from a technical support session could inform marketing staff about products and services that might be of interest to the customer. The purpose of collaboration is to improve the quality of customer service, and, as a result, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. • Collaborative CRM provides the following benefits: • Enables efficient productive customer interactions across all means of communication (i.e. web, email, telephone, postal etc.) • Enables web collaboration to reduce customer service costs. Features, such a support ticket system, allow multiple departments to support a customer and reduce costs by limiting communication to a web-based format. • Integrates call centres enabling multi-channel personal customer interaction. Any call centre staff member can interact with a customer while viewing a complete record of all customer details and previous interactions. • Integrates view of the customer while interaction at the transaction level. All staff can view order history and current support status for the customer.

  35. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Purposes • CRM, in its broadest sense, means managing all interactions and business with customers. This includes improving customer service. A good CRM program will allow a business to acquire customers, service the customer, increase the value of the customer to the company, retain good customers, and determine which customers can be retained or given a higher level of service. • The CRM tools can also provide a fast mechanism for managing and scheduling follow-up sales calls to assess how happy customers are with a product, repurchase probabilities, repurchase times, and repurchase frequencies as well as provide a mechanism to track all points of contact between a customer and the company.

  36. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Purposes • The business can use CRM tools to help to identify potential problems quickly, before they occur and to provide a user-friendly mechanism for registering customer complaints. Once registered the CRM tools offer a fast mechanism for handling problems and complaints. • CRM tools can also help by: • Using internet cookies to track customer interests and personalise which products are offered to the customer accordingly. • Providing a fast mechanism for managing and scheduling maintenance, repair, and on-going support. • The CRM can be integrated into other systems within the business to provide accounting and production information to customers when they want it.

  37. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Privacy Concerns • Increase use of CRM technologies makes it difficult for people to control the information that's captured about their personal life and activities. Data supplied by an individual for one purpose can easily be used for another, entirely different purpose. • There's a growing trend for customers to opt out of marketing schemes, and legislation is beginning to prohibit the use of traditional communications such as mass mailing and emailing. • Recent research shows that 78% of people are concerned about companies holding information on them. • The Data Protect Act provides some level of protection to customers in the UK but in an increasingly global market consumer privacy is becoming a major consideration.

  38. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Ethical Concerns • Ethical problems can occur a company tries to anticipate the needs of individual customers. This sounds like a good idea, and it is a good thing when it works correctly, but a business has to be careful that it doesn't pigeonhole people in ways to which they might take exception. • Customers, by definition, decide what their needs are; a CRM application can't make those decisions for them. A company and its computer software can never know an individual customer's future objectives based on his or her past actions. It can only guess at the objectives of groups or classes of customers based on statistical analysis. Reaching conclusions about individuals based on the groups or classes they happen to belong to is an uncertain business at best. It's a process that statisticians refer to as discrimination. This is a neutral term in a description of statistical techniques, but anywhere else, it can easily imply a stance that is morally and legally objectionable. Discrimination is such a sensitive subject that the mere hint of unfairness in separating one group of customers from another to treat them differently has the potential to lead to adverse publicity and legal action.

  39. Description of an on-line database system – Customer Relationship Management • Ethical Concerns • As long as the message which goes out is consistent, it's not a problem. If there appear to be inconsistencies, the company's integrity is called into question. Very few companies have experimented with customizing the pages of their web sites for individual customers, and for good reason. If a customer suspects that a company is trying to hide something by removing information from the web pages it shows, he/she can easily find this out by having someone else look at the same web pages. But if a customer is forced to obscure his/her identity to get around a company's CRM system, this not only negates the CRM efforts but means that the company's CRM efforts are being used against them, and for all practical purposes, a company has no way to find out that its customers are doing this.

  40. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • E-Commerce • Electronic Commerce (also referred to as EC, e-commerce eCommerce or ecommerce) consists primarily of the distributing, buying, selling, marketing and servicing of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. • The information technology industry might see it as an electronic business application aimed at commercial transactions; in this context, it can involve electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, e-marketing, online marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), automated inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. • Electronic commerce typically uses electronic communications technology of the WWW, at some point in the transaction's lifecycle, although of course electronic commerce frequently depends on computer technologies other than the World Wide Web, such as databases, and e-mail, and on other non-computer technologies, such as transportation for physical goods sold via e-commerce.

  41. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • E-Commerce • Today, it encompasses a very wide range of business activities and processes, from e-banking to offshore manufacturing to e-logistics. The ever growing dependence of modern industries on electronically enabled business processes gave impetus to the growth and development of supporting systems, including backend systems, applications and middleware. • Examples are broadband and fiber-optic networks, supply-chain management software, customer relationship management software, inventory control systems and financial accounting software. • When the Web first became well-known among the general public in 1994, many journalists and pundits forecast that e-commerce would soon become a major economic sector. However, it took about four years for security protocols (like HTTPS) to become sufficiently developed and widely deployed. Subsequently, between 1998 and 2000, a substantial number of businesses in the United States and Western Europe developed rudimentary web sites.

  42. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • In many cases, an e-commerce company will survive not only based on its product. Such factors include: • Sufficient work done in market research and analysis. E-commerce is not exempt from good business planning and the fundamental laws of supply and demand. Business failure is as much a reality in e-commerce as in any other form of business. • A good management team armed with information technology strategy. A company's IT strategy should be a part of the business re-design process. • Providing an easy and secured way for customers to effect transactions. Credit cards are the most popular means of sending payments on the internet, accounting for 90% of online purchases. In the past, card numbers were transferred securely between the customer and merchant through independent payment gateways. Such independent payment gateways are still used by most small and home businesses. Most merchants today process credit card transactions on site through arrangements made with commercial banks or credit cards companies. • Providing reliability and security. Parallel servers, hardware redundancy, fail-safe technology, information encryption, and firewalls can enhance this requirement. • Providing a 360-degree view of the customer relationship, defined as ensuring that all employees, suppliers, and partners have a complete view, and the same view, of the customer. However, customers may not appreciate the big brother experience. • Constructing a commercially sound business model.

  43. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • A successful e-commerce organization must also provide an enjoyable and rewarding experience to its customers. Many factors go into making this possible. Such factors include: • Providing value to customers. Vendors can achieve this by offering a product or product-line that attracts potential customers at a competitive price, as in non-electronic commerce. • Providing service and performance. Offering a responsive, user-friendly purchasing experience, just like a flesh-and-blood retailer, may go some way to achieving these goals. • Providing an incentive for customers to buy and to return. Sales promotions to this end can involve coupons, special offers, and discounts. Cross-linked websites and advertising affiliate programs can also help. • Providing personal attention. Personalized web sites, purchase suggestions, and personalized special offers may go some of the way to substituting for the face-to-face human interaction found at a traditional point of sale. • Providing a sense of community. Chat rooms, discussion boards, soliciting customer input and loyalty programs (sometimes called affinity programs) can help in this respect.

  44. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • Even if a provider of E-commerce goods and services rigorously follows these "key factors" to devise an exemplary e-commerce strategy, problems can still arise. Sources of such problems include: • Failure to understand customers, why they buy and how they buy. Even a product with a sound value proposition can fail if producers and retailers do not understand customer habits, expectations, and motivations. • Failure to consider the competitive situation. • Inability to predict environmental reaction. What will competitors do? Will they introduce competitive brands or competitive web sites? Will they supplement their service offerings? Will they try to sabotage a competitor's site? Will price wars break out? What will the government do? • Over-estimation of resource competence. Can staff, hardware, software, and processes handle the proposed strategy? Have e-tailers failed to develop employee and management skills? • Failure to coordinate. If existing reporting and control relationships do not suffice, one can move towards a flat, accountable, and flexible organizational structure, which may or may not aid coordination

  45. Description of an on-line database system – E-Commerce • Consumers have accepted the e-commerce business model less readily than its proponents originally expected. Several reasons might account for the slow uptake, including: • Concerns about security. Many people will not use credit cards over the Internet due to concerns about theft and credit card fraud. • Lack of instant gratification with most e-purchases (non-digital purchases). Much of a consumer's reward for purchasing a product lies in the instant gratification of using and displaying that product. This reward does not exist when one's purchase does not arrive for days or weeks. • The problem of access to web commerce, mainly for poor households and for developing countries. Low penetration rates of Internet access in some sectors greatly reduces the potential for e-commerce. • The social aspect of shopping. Some people enjoy talking to sales staff, to other shoppers, or to their cohorts: this social reward side of retail therapy does not exist to the same extent in online shopping. • Poorly designed, bug-infested e-Commerce web sites that frustrate online shoppers and drive them away. • Inconsistent return policies among e-tailers or difficulties in exchange/return.

  46. Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues • Open Source Software: an antonym for closed source software and refers to any computer software whose source code is available under a license (or arrangement such as the public domain) that permits users to study, change, and improve the software, and to redistribute it in modified or unmodified form. • Closed source code must be hidden from the public and competitors who might otherwise reproduce or modify the code, either to resell the product or for other malicious reasons. Software companies that follow the closed source model see it as a way to protect their products from software piracy or misuse, from reverse engineering and duplication, and to maintain competitive advantage and vendor lock-in. Closed source software usually is developed and maintained by a relatively small team who produce their "product" in a compiled executable state, which is what the market is allowed access to

  47. Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues • cost effectiveness • Making money through traditional methods, such as sale of the use of individual copies and patent royalty payment, is more difficult and sometimes impractical with open-source software. Some closed-source advocates see open-source software as damaging to the market of commercial software. This complaint is countered by a large number of alternative funding streams such as: • giving away the software and charging for installation and support; • make the software available as open-source so that people will be more likely to purchase a related product or service you do sell; • cost avoidance / cost sharing: many developers need a product, so it makes sense to share development costs.

  48. Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues • Security • Some people believe that closed source software is more secure than open source software. With any given piece of software, it's much easier for a black hat to find and exploit security holes in any given piece of software when he has the source code than without it. • Other people believe that open source software is more secure than closed source software. The availability of open source code leads to faster discovery of security issues, and faster resolution of these issues. They point to the exploitation of proprietary software such as Internet Explorer. But others claim that such software is exploited because it has a large market share—making it an attractive target for attackers—and claim that open-source software would also be exploited if it attracted the attention of those attackers.

  49. Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues • Flexibility and Adaptability, • Open source software can be changed by the owner of the software not just the developer. • Closed source software can only be changed by the original developer.

  50. Comparison of Open Source and Commercial On-line Database Software and related issues • Ongoing support and development by a community of users . • Closed-source software vendors typically provide a "one-stop shop" for all support matters: since the vendor developed the software (and appropriately licensed any included components that were developed by others), the vendor also provides all necessary support functions. Nobody else can provide the level of support that the original vendor does, simply because nobody else has the requisite access to the source code (not just to understand how it works, but to make modifications and fix bugs). • Open-source offers an alternative model, where easy access to the source code allows the proliferation of a multitude of alternative support organizations, each remaining small enough to remain responsive to the needs of its own set of customers. With ready access to the source code, anybody can find a bug or shortcoming in the software, and submit a patch for it all the way back to the original software developers, who in turn can very quickly decide whether the patch is worth accepting or not. It is often said that the more eyes looking for bugs reduce them, and with more people looking for bugs, then looking to exploit them, it is no wonder bug fixes may be faster for open source projects.