Companies, both large and small, need to recognize the advantages of e-business, according to Mike Parks, the manager of the Center for Manufacturing Information Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Mr. Parks will conduct a seminar Thursday at the Georgia Tech Regional Office on the importance of integrating electronic commerce into all types of businesses.
He said there are steps to be taken before a company can venture into e-business. "First of all, companies must understand the fundamentals of the Internet and have a permanent Web site," Mr. Parks said.
He said e-business is then the next logical step because it is vital to the success of a company. The technology can improve customer relations and business efficiency while expanding the market of smaller companies.
There are, however, obstacles for companies to overcome when implementing the technology.
"A lot of companies are having problems getting assistance, especially smaller companies. It's not difficult to find someone to do a static Web page, but it's harder to find someone to assist with e-commerce solutions who know what they're doing," he said.
The biggest problem, according to Mr. Parks, is the lack of awareness of smaller companies to the need for e-business. He said the purpose of the seminar is to inform those companies of the Internet's advantages.
As manager of CMIT, Mr. Parks utilizes the technology available from the Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition to establish e-commerce solutions for businesses. "Of the top 100 e-tailers, Microsoft built over 50 percent of them. It's the best thing I have to demonstrate," he said.
CMIT has started assisting businesses that prefer to remain anonymous. "They don't want other people to know. They see it as a competitive advantage," Mr. Parks said.
For those who plan to integrate e-business into their company, Mr. Parks has some advice. "Be prepared to make mistakes and start over. The most important thing is to jump in and do something."
The seminar is free, and registration begins at 8 a.m. The course begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs until noon. For information, call Georgia Tech's regional office at 737-1414.
Reach Jennifer Bishop at (706) 823-3217.