The Big Idea and Intended Learning Outcomes
This course will depict information and knowledge and the possibilities in running a business in the digital environment whether the business is digital or traditional. In this course, eEntrepreneurship would be segregated in two parts, which would commence jointly. One part will provide information about running a business in the digital market as we know today. Another part will give an apprehension of the challenges in promoting products and services through information infrastructures.
Today's complex and dynamic market is forcing companies to use the advantages of the Web more than ever. The involvement contains both, Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 (today mostly known as social media). Companies are involved in digital activities to a greater extent in elevating products. Online marketing, online recruiting, and social media management gave a fecund field for boosting products, services, and an enterprise image. Traditional marketing emerges with digital marketing and has been becoming a new notion, best described as "Tradigital Marketing" (Armano, 2010). The boundaries between B2B and B2C disappear more and more, as the digital environment disperses throughout the world rapidly, also providing easier (i.e. live up to the usability and mobile internet) and faster (i.e. broadband internet) access to the Internet. Unlike earlier times, when it was necessary and obvious for B2C companies to analyze, monitor and research all kind of activities regarding their products and targeted groups, now B2B companies had to change their execution in analyzing, monitoring and researching Web activities and social media in order to maintain, increment and amend their market share. B2B or B2C, producers and consumers and all stakeholders are parts of Web regarding both digital and classical business. Therefore, an enterprise cannot afford to decide whether it should or should not engage in Web activities no matter what kind of branch they belong to. Taking advantages from given possibilities of the Web will be a significant aspect of the course eEntrepreneurship.
On the other hand, there is a significant difference between digital products and services and traditional goods. Not only their nature of one is being substantial and the other containing just numbers, but also the mode of distribution and marketing. Information market is an entirely new challenge for companies who market information as either product or service. In this part, the students will learn to understand the information as economical commodities.
Starting and Running a Business in the Information Economy
First segment of the course will explain the competitiveness of present companies by dealing with the digital world or in term of net economy or information economics. Habituating given possibilities of Web has gained fundamental importance to companies in all branches. The Web has changed spectacularly the cognition of consumers and also companies. It is absolutely necessary for enterprises to adapt these changes and to use the vantages of the Web to be profitable and successful in their individual purpose. The students will have to ascertain how information materials can be handled and differed from classic materials.
Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0
Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 will be differentiated and described in this course. Web 1.0 will be depicted as a form of the Web, where companies transpose their publicity from analog to digital world by building web sites, posting ads on online shops, and publishing online press releases. The Web 1.0 is still an essence for companies, even the new opportunities of social media seem to be promising such as Blog, Facebook and Twitter Marketing.
Also the usage of the Web provides a huge variety of opportunities for companies, especially for information retrieval. As most of the services are provided free of charge, Web information retrieval can be used within all internal processes of a company. In addition, the usage of social media is best described as online marketing, yet at the same time, the utilization of the Web 1.0 is still essential to sustain overall business processes.
Formation of an Enterprise
Formation of an enterprise can be processed in less than 2 hours utilizing the Web compared to the business environment before the mid 90s. Whether it is a Limited Liability Corporation such as Ltd. or another legal form, the Web information infrastructures allow entrepreneurs to start a brand new company by simply using online services.
Regarding the availability of information and legal issues, the Web has become the peerless source in accumulating the necessary knowledge for starting a new business, no matter which branch. Consultancy processes can be managed through the Web and knowledge can be gained by demanding specific questions. This part will explain what kind of information is needed and how the Web can assist in retrieving or collecting necessary information.
Formation of an Information Economy Enterprise
What are the aspects that differ from a company which offers traditional goods to an enterprise that offers only information? A company selling information products must face more complications in the economy of information technology. Having knowledge regarding information economics is mandatory while introducing the products. The questions which must arise in mind are: "what can I offer, that is within the interest of the market?", "what is the added-value of my product?", and "which targeted group has a need for my product"? The differences between the "real economy" and "net economy" will be explicated in this part of the course such as:
Principles of Information and Information Economics
This part of the course will depict the principles of the Information Economy based on the research given by Stock & Linde (2011). According to Stock & Linde, the information market is all sorts of data which is distributed through digital networks, including software and of content such as blogs, films, games, articles and patents (Stock & Linde, 2011). The course will devote a view of information materials and also will explicate the differences between digital and classical goods. This part of the course comprises lectures discussing about information markets, information as a network good, network effects and network values, and digital rights management (DRM).
In the recent years, the need for information services has grown apace. The society is now denoted as information society, and information now a day can be found in everyday life. Information-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), also known as data services, have been developing rapidly for last few years. Regarding Forrester Research, information services will grow its importance to organizations and consumers in all business areas (Yuhanna, 2010). But there is a difference between information which contains of only digital data such as 0 and 1, and information which is can be used to decide and act, such as knowledge. The difference between information and knowledge will also be explicated in this part of the course. The value of information, value-added chain of information products, demand for information and the information as economics good will be the aspects of this part of the course. The main aspects are:
Pricing of Information Goods
There are two unlike information goods: information services and information products (Kuhlen, 1996, 83f). The technological potentials of digital goods will also be described by showing durable goods and consumer goods. Stock & Linde see the economic implication of the information in two aspects: the "direct significance expressed in numbers of employees or sales figures" and "the indirect significance" (Stock & Linde, 2011, 38). In order to empathize the principles of pricing of information, market failure for information goods will be depicted in this part of the course first: Because information goods have exceptional economics characteristics they can easily conduct to market failure.
Another facet is that an information good is only valuable to the consumer, when the information itself has experience and credence qualities (Stock & Linde, 2011, 33f). The economic specialness of information goods will be described in order to interpret the pricing challenge. The main aspects of the course will comprise:
According to Clifton and Ahmad, a brand is a name that is intrinsically striking and their role is to create an indelible impression (Clifton & Ahmad, 2009). Once a name for a company has been given and has been known in the market, it is quite difficult to alter it. The evolution of a company or product name is one of the most significant tasks before starting a business that entrepreneurs must execute. Surfing Web and a decent search can give the entrepreneur very important views of how other companies or contenders use brand names for their own purposes such as communication and image branding (Kollmann, T. et al., 2007, 351).
There are also other components that must be taken under consideration while choosing company and product names in the net economy. Domain names for the company's product brands should be available or at least be able to be secured at a low price. According to Kohli and LaBahn (1997), following processes must be executed in order to prefer a name, which will be appropriate for a net economy business:
Copyright & Trademark
Founding a company mostly relates to creating products and services. Today's complex market structure needs some assurance of subsist and successful distribution of products. The main issue will evolve in our mind regarding to assure, that the fact of survival is marketing. Product's name along with other factors like logo, texts, slogans, concepts and patents etc. complete a good marketing if all these factors are harmonized attractively. Anyhow, especially while distributing information goods such as content or software, an intellectual property protection is also needed: "Intellectual property rights have a fundamental and catalyzing role in a knowledge economy" (Drahos, 2005, 140).
This segment of the course will discuss the prospect of researching patent and trademark using the Web. It is important to give attention that there are possibilities for a company to ensure and establish own registered and unregistered trademarks. Creating USPs by using domain names, trademarks, protection processes and concepts will be pursued in that course as well. Finally, copyright issues regarding information materials will be discussed in order to give an idea how copyright materials can be dealt and acquired through the Web. Copyright concepts such as GNU, Creative Commons and other license concepts will be introduced as well.
The complex market situation forces companies, especially startups, to identify and decrease their present and future cost operators. It became consequential for companies to give emphasis on reducing costs in all aspects of the business in order to be competitive. Traditional cost cutting strategies must be transferred or shifted to the possibilities of the Web. Entrepreneurs should have cognizance about the possibilities what the Web can provide. An entrepreneur therefore is not just obliged to act prolifically at all times, but also by proving profitability and reduce costs over the time. This part of the course will show methods of price comparison, employee selection and procurement, using the Web as a source. The topics will contain of
One of the key factors of business is to meet the demands of the targeted group. Extensive market research is the only way to analyze and distinguish the targeted group. However, market research can be divided into several fields. Survey processes or acquiring research data are mostly the traditional ways of market research, but mostly used to accumulate or gather information about potential customers. But the Web offers new opportunities to retrieve information by Web Mining or mostly known as Social Media Research. Web Mining or Social Media Research can contain features of
In todayís Web environment, it has become much easier for entrepreneurs to determine data from competitors without buying pricy market research reports. Companies disclose lots of information not only about their products and services but also about their strategies in the Web as well. At a glance, it seems to be a necessity to monitor and dissect that information from the competitor's web site itself. But the competitor's web site is not the only source for such information. Nowadays, most of the companies use the wide range of possibilities of the Web to put out information in order to elaborate and sustain their company's image and publicity of their products. These channels contain social media activities, which can be found in Blogs and self-made Bulletin Boards (forums), also in Twitter and Facebook Channels. In a wider range, not only consumers but also employees can unveil information on the Internet, which can be basically important for a contender to know. Depending on the branch, information can be imparted into specific knowledge, which can guide to an interpretation of the tactical and strategic intentions of a competitor (Graubner-M¸ller, 2011, 21f). Following competitor information can therefore be in the concern of a company:
To make this possible, a certain procedure must be formulated in order to maintain a continuing information retrieval. The process can also contain free online tools, which can be used to help the manual information broker to get his work done easier and faster and specially at low cost. In summary, to demonstrate a working and efficient competitive intelligence system, following interrogatives must be clarified:
Today, it's just a matter of simple clicks to install Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), such as Wikis, Blogs, Content Management Systems (CMS), Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMS) and more. Consequently SaaS deals all kind of business activities like billing, collaboration, document management, human resources, social networks and more (Open Crowd, 2010).
Companies are blessed by taking advantages of the opportunities of the Web, especially by using open source licensed information systems, also called Open SaaS (Osofsky, 2010). In this part of the course several SaaS and also Open Source software will be presented. The concept of Open Source licenses and the pros and cons of their commercial deployment will be introduced:
Another aspect is the search for information and for this, an overview of the information retrieval possibilities in the Web has to be given. In this context, the surface Web and deep Web will be introduced to ensure that the students understand how to perform an effective search in the Web in order to retrieve the necessary information for their business. Search tools such as online search engines and content aggregators will be presented.
Didactic Concept, Schedule, and Assignments
Part 1: "Launch"
Class Lecture No. 1
Part 2: "Web Mining"
Class Lecture No. 2
Online Lecture No. 2
The students will receive a feedback for their paper. They will be given the opportunity to rework their paper considering the new feedback given by the lecturer. This Online Lecture will be an extended learning process for the students in order to complete the part of the course "Web Mining".
Part 2: "Competitive Intelligence"
Class Lecture No. 3
All papers are a part of the examination and will be contributed to the final grade as followed:
Past Course Pages