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SME e-readiness in Malaysia: Implications for Planning and Implementation - page 2 / 44

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become so pervasive that in the future every business will be an Internet business or no

business at all. Forrester Research, an Internet research firm, estimates that revenues in the

Business to Consumer segment will grow from $20 billion in 1999 to $184 billion by 2004.

Also, the 1990s have witnessed the proliferation and hyper-growth of the Internet and

Internet technologies, which together are creating a global and cost-effective platform for

businesses to communicate and conduct commerce. Indirectly, Internet is enabling smaller

businesses to gain the efficiencies and cost savings that once were afforded only to larger

businesses. There is evidence that shows SMEs around the world are embracing e-business

and e-commerce and spending increasing amounts on information technology in different

regions. Research also shows that SMEs using the Internet to conduct business have higher

revenues.

Internet is thus a new way of conducting, managing and executing business transactions using

modern Information Technology. The Internet provides access 24 hours a day, seven days a

week – any time anywhere. Thus, time and place are no longer the binding factors. In

essence, the Internet is allowing businesses to enter niche markets at no additional cost

(Kleindl 2000). There are 2 types of Internet component: e-business and e-commerce.

  • Electronic business or e-business describes the use of electronic means and platforms to conduct a company’s business. (Kotler 2003). Intranets are created to facilitate employees communicating with one another and to facilitate downloading and uploading information to and from the company’s computers whereas extranets are set up with major suppliers and distributors to facilitate information exchange, orders, transactions, and payments. “E-business will change Asia more than it changes the

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