The Internet or the interconnection of computers and information across the world was arguably one of the greatest advances since the Industrial age. It helped to spawn the Information age towards the end of the last century and will continue to develop and provide enormous opportunities and challenges for business in the foreseeable future. Originally developed as a military system designed to provide ongoing communication in the advent of an all-out nuclear war, it has developed in ways its original creators could never have imagined.
A full discussion of the Internet and how it can be used, could easily fill a number of publications. For our purposes we will limit the discussion to the ways in which SMEs can harness and use the opportunities this medium presents, as well as the requirements to do so. For this we divide Internet utilisation into passive and active usage. Firstly, passive use, being defined as the utilisation of resources that others provide or that are internal to the business and secondly, active use, providing Internet resources and services that other external parties can use.
This article examines the Internet as both an information resource, as well as a marketing and business resource for the SME. In an information resource context, the chapter examines Internet Service Providers, electronic mail, search engines and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). From a marketing and business resource perspective we look at creating web sites, e-commerce, e-commerce payment methods as well as web site hosting options and Internet marketing.
For the complete article see … Internet