E-COMMERCE: WHERE DO WE STAND? 

The objective of e-commerce is to build a network of interconnected business and society.

By Ateeq M. Khan, CEO Gem Net
Mar 12 - 25, 2001

By far the most profound impact on human evolution has been the development in the field of IT, with off shoots in biotechnology and off course Business & Commerce. When we say E Commerce we are basically discussing one of the following models :

1. B2B simply means Business To Business : Here the buyers and sellers are some sort of business entities

2. B2C means Business to Consumers : Here the sellers are business entities and buyers are individual customers. Most of the Net crimes especially credit card frauds are committed in this model.

3. C2B means Consumers to Business: This is not a very significant model because of the fact that individual entities are never given serious considerations by the business entities for purchasing.

4. C2C or Consumers to Consumers: Primarily used in the Auctioning on Net.

Some authorities on E Commerce also take B2G (Business to Govt) and G2B (Govt to Business) as one of the models, but modern media considers this as part of E Government.

Now lets see where do we stand in Pakistan on all of the above models.

1. B2B: This model's prerequisite is that the transaction should be done via automation i.e. the life cycle of a business transaction right from purchase order to final payment should route over the networks of the two organizations. As of today only a handful of organizations in the private sector could claim automation of this level. Using computers to type your documents is not what B2B or E Commerce is about. It means 100 per cent automation at each stage of the transaction. EDI is the best example of B2B model used by US and European companies.

2. B2C: Again the lethargic approach by the State Bank of Pakistan and local banks to implement the credit card payment gateways is delaying implementing this model in Pakistan. Over 90 per cent transactions in this model are carried out through credit cards. Companies wishing to implement this solution have to deal with US based companies who charge extra money to provide this service. The second problem is the conversion rate of USD to Pak Rupee. Hence in order to expedite real growth in this sector the local banks should resolve this problem as soon as possible.

3. C2B: Software developers and web developers can be put in this category. They usually get orders over the Net through their friends and relatives in US and they carry out the required task and upload the work via FTP. The existing surge in Medical Transcription business may also provide another source of income to those interested in doing business from their home via Internet. Again the amount earned by the individuals through this model may not come to Pakistan through official channel hence real estimate can never be made (like our software exports!)

4. C2C: No such model exists in Pakistan at the moment. Although some efforts have been made by some individuals but it still lacks enthusiasm from the Net users to deal with unknown persons over the Net. Some private deals made through chatting can not make this a viable business model.

Recent announcements from the Ministry of Science & Technology to implement E Government projects, we will see how efficiently B2G, G2B and even G2G works.

Infrastructure wise we have good deployments, but the problem of maintenance and customer support persist. With involvement of more and more private sector parties this may improve also. Ever increasing trend of computerization, networking and Internet usage will definitely help business and consumers to avail modern facilities with convenience. The objective of e-commerce is to build a network of interconnected business and society.