oa South African Journal of Information Management - Web phenomenon applied as ICT platform in support of business model innovation
Many writers foresaw that the 21st century would see a totally new society, a society influenced and manipulated by technology. The change from an industrial society to the newly formed information society may be compared to the impact the industrial revolution had on the decentralized society of the previous era where the society was transformed into a society with a centralized industrial economy. The way in which business was conducted was characteristic of this centralized industrial economy - customers' needs were artificially created and manipulated and the business focus was product-orientated, dictating the terms and conditions of business processes. Pre-defined rules for success were preserved and applied over and over to ensure success. With the advent of the information revolution, technology empowered customers and the business focus changed from being product-orientated to being customer-orientated. Customers were to dictate to business what they needed. This change forced organizations to deliver products on demand and placed employees in the frontline of service provision. Managements were confronted with situations where they could no longer control business processes by laying down rules for success. They were forced to empower their employees with correct information, to enable them to meet their clients' unprecedented needs. In an effort to support employees, information technology was applied to re-engineer business processes for enhancing information flow within the organization. But the great diversity in architecture and the lack of communication abilities caused those information systems to fail. However, the unique communication and virtualization capabilities of the World-Wide Web (Web) facilitate a subjective context and living space for continuous human interaction and the retrieval and delivery of the information and knowledge required to customized products to customers' needs.
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