We've said quick goodbyes to many buzzwords after the
dotcom bubble burst. But what about those granddaddies of Web
terms, "e-business" and "e-commerce?" Are these e-words even
relevant anymore? We went to the experts--Marc Pearl, senior
vice president and technology/communications/e-commerce
practice group leader of Fleishman-Hillard Inc.'s Washington,
DC, public affairs/government relations subsidiary, FH/GPC.;
and Michael Drapkin, CEO of XB5 Partners Inc., a business,
technology and management consulting firm in New York City and
chair of e-commerce management for Columbia University's
executive IT management program-and checked up on their
Marc Pearl: "It's all a
question of how you're looking at it. The ultimate goal is for
a recognition that business and commerce are not distinguished
by the modes and channels of distribution. We never called it
'telephone commerce' or 'telephone business.' It's simply
utilizing a technology in a more efficient and effective way.
"We're still, at best, at the adolescent stage of
e-business. It is more efficient, but it's not that old. We
need time to get a kind of ubiquitous global enterprise
approach to a lot of issues that are not yet settled in law,
not yet settled in the economy and certainly not yet settled
in our culture."
"E-business has taken its place as a legitimate and
fundamental form of distribution. I don't think anybody thinks
that any type of electronic business is going away.
"For the most part, the people who make money in electronic
business are the same people who make money in other areas.
Rather than becoming an end to itself, e-business is taking
its rightful place with direct sales, catalog, telesales and
whatever else you use to reach customers.
"E-business is a subset of business. It's just a particular
way of doing business that happens to be very