Book Review: The E-business (R)evolution

Daniel Amor’s new title is aimed at exploring the pros and cons of e-business

Daniel Amor’s new title is aimed at exploring the pros and cons of e-business

By Daniel Amor

Published by Prentice-Hall

First Edition - 1999

Many books claim to provide guidance on understanding how the Internet works and creating strategies to exploit it. Few titles live up to the promotional text printed on their cover sleeves, but this one comes closer than most. The book is aimed at entrepreneurs and executives working in e-businesses. It covers both the technical and strategic aspects of what is for many a daunting and too often a misunderstood new medium.

With the plummeting stock price of Internet companies, together with limited profits, most investors are looking, once again, at a company's bottom line as a guide to its market value. Ultimately, meeting or exceeding market expectations is the lifeblood of any public company in either the new or old economy. The days of venture capitalists investing millions of pounds into companies with no visible profits in the short- to medium-term are disappearing. It is crucial then that new economy companies have the business acumen required to succeed along with good ideas. This is the exact niche that The E-business (R)evolution has been written to fill.

The book tries to provide a comprehensive yet structured account for anyone wishing to implement a web strategy for their company. The author, Daniel Amor, has written an insightful guide covering the most important aspects of e-business, which will be of interest to the increasing numbers of entrepreneurs or executives responsible for a company's e-business initiative.

Sensibly, Amor doesn't delve into too much technical detail, which might deter less specialised readers. He outlines the alternative e-business approaches together with their pros and cons, reinforced where necessary with case studies.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section provides an introduction to e-business, to prepare readers for their experiences online. Amor offers detailed advice on selecting technologies and legal issues, as well as providing a useful primer on marketing strategies on the Web.

The second section focuses on applications, including search engines, shopping, resource management and interactive communication tools such as online meetings, Internet chat rooms and online training.

The third section compares the pros and cons of different web technologies, the sensitive issue of Internet security, not forgetting an examination on the uses of Java in a business and the many imaging technologies available such as QuickTime and VRML. The third section is also devoted to the payment methods available via the Internet. Importantly, this section includes an assessment of the risks and advantages of a number of methods.

The Internet is constantly changing and many businesses devote a great deal of time and money attempting to predict future trends. Daniel Amor provides readers with his vision of the future of e-business and the software and hardware that will drive the changes.

The E-business (R)evolution includes a jargon-busting glossary of Internet terms as well as two appendices. The first outlines Internet business architecture and the other covers useful web addresses. For any reader wading through literature on the Internet, a glossary is a welcome addition to breaking down the jargon barrier that pervades the medium and which can seriously hinder learning.

Most books on the subject of the Internet and business discuss either Internet technologies or business strategies; this book manages to traverse both affably. Daniel Amor writes about the new economy in a simple, readable yet pragmatic and persuasive manner. No book is perfect and perhaps the only criticism that can be levied at this one is that the author has taken a ground-up approach, which won't satisfy all readers. At 650 pages, The E-business (R)evolution is a large tome. However, given the layout of the text, it is possible to read only the sections that you find interesting rather than reading the book from cover to cover to understand the ideas contained within.

Overall, The E-business (R)evolution makes a good stab at demystifying the complex arena of e-business. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of this work is that Daniel Amor has managed to write a refreshing book in comparison to the multitude of e-business titles that litter bookshops.

Paul Phillips

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