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The potential in e-business has been far from exploited

  • Publisert 28.02.2004
  • Sist oppdatert 08.06.2011
Over 4,300 enterprises – with at least 10 employees – in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have participated in this survey of E-business 2003. E-business covers all business applications of internet technology, the purpose of which is to improve, change or promote efficiency in, the enterprise and organisation. E-business therefore includes all communication via the internet; internally in the enterprise via an intranet and externally via an extranet with customers, suppliers and partners.

In the Nordic survey "E-business 2003: Strategies and spreading of e-business in Nordic enterprises" we employ a wide definition of e-business, so that e-business is relevant for the majority of enterprises with at least 10 employees. This was intentional, not to dilute the term, but to show that e-business is much more than just ecommerce. When e-business and e-commerce are equated in the public debate, there is a misunderstanding and underestimation of the potential of e-business. E-commerce can be defined as the receipt and transmission of orders via a computer based network, and in a number of analyses thereby also includes Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI means the transmission of form-type business documents etc. directly from one computer system to another. E-business as a term means however, both harder efficiency drivers, for example, in the form of digital supplier communication and personalised, automated customer communication, and softer elements, in the form of digital marketing and digital staff recruitment.


With this broad perception of e-business it becomes relevant for all departments and sections in an enterprise, from purchasing and production to sales and marketing. E-business even becomes very relevant to an enterprise’s staff functions – economy and finance, HRM, and service or call centre. Each department has a mission in the e-business of the future – and a mission moreover, which must be spread within a coherent strategy which integrates each department’s services/products. This report deals precisely with how enterprises in the Nordic region are tackling e-business – and how widespread e-business is, both in relation to concrete functions and web services.


The report focuses on seven main points:

  1. The potential in e-business has been far from exploited.
  2. Finnish enterprises are much farther forward with e-business than enterprises in the other Nordic countries. At the same time, e-business in all countries is the large enterprises’ project.
  3. Many Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have not, typically for B2B sub-suppliers, developed or implemented e-business strategies despite the larger enterprises – in their position as the SME’s customers – demanding a greater degree of digital supplier communications.
  4. The qualification profile of many enterprises (particularly SMEs) is not optimal for developing e-business. These enterprises hire an inadequate number of technology knowledge workers, for example, engineers and staff with short further educations in IT. This inoptimal qualification profile is reinforced by their supplementary and further education for e-business being unsystematic and inadequate.
  5. Enterprises in Finland and Sweden are generally much farther ahead with e-business than enterprises in Norway and Denmark.
  6. IT security is high, but can be significantly improved.
  7. The greatest barrier to e-business, in enterprises’ own assessment, is that enterprises generally allocate inadequate resources to finance planned e-business activities.

Project duration: 01.07.2003 - 30.11.2003


For a short summary of the report “E-business 2003” please download a pdf-file below, or buy the total report at PLS Rambøll Management. 

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