Communication Network Environment
With the rapid growth in e-services, a new set of terms has emerged to describe the different types of networks through which information can flow. Each of these networks is defined by the type of users who have access to it. There are currently three major categories for e- services: (a) Internet, (b) intranet, and (c) extranet. A fourth type of network that is
also currently being used is called electronic data interchange, or EDI, which is really a different form of the extranet. Exhibit 4.7 illustrates how the e various networks link an organization with its customers. suppliers, and the general public . Internet An Internet network has the fewest. if .my, restrictions in terms of v.ho has access to it. Firms use the Internet primarily when dealing with the general public. For those firms that sell directly to consumers. such as Amazon.com (books. etc.) and Expedia.com
(discounted airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc.), the Internet is the communication network that connects customers to these firms’ website to purchase goods and services. The Internet also provides access to websites that provide general information about a lire. This type of website also can be used to disseminate news releases, provide contacts within the firm, and issue directions about how to obtain additional information about the firm. In addition, the Internet also allows firms to offer customers richer information and after-sales support with the goal of building customer loyalty.