Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

E-Commerce zones conceptual model

The Laura project is an innovative approach to e-commerce in less favoured regions (LFRs) of Europe. Laura represents a software founded organisational approach to build and run Virtual Organisations (VOs) based on a closed shop pool of regional and branch specific organisations following the extended enterprise paradigm. The project is addressed to Small to Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating in Less Favoured Regions (LFRs) of Europe and which most of the times are in a disadvantageous position in relation to their competitors based on urban places. The implementation of modern IT technology that facilitates the development of e-commerce activities is of critical importance for both the prosperity of these SMEs and consequently for the economic development of the European Union.

The potential partners, under specific conditions, will form a new integrated VO with a limited life span. Since the appearance of these organisations will occur on demand, they are named Request Based Virtual Organisations (RBVOs). The specific difference with common VOs is that they do not operate on a constant basis but instead they are flexible organisation forms that respond very well and very quickly to emerging business opportunities. At this point it is essential to note that the Laura infrastructure aims at business to business collaboration which might concern e-procurement of finished goods from one SME to another or the formation of partnerships for the development of final products and/or services from sub components.

Laura Operation could be divided and analysed in three distinct layers, each one representing a different extent of distance collaboration. Starting from the bottom layer of intra regional e-commerce, there is a transition to interregional e-commerce followed by international e-commerce. In the intra-regional e-commerce layer, the SMEs, the regional support centres and the business organisations are identified as the three key actors, which are analysed extensively in the next section. It is important to mention that in order to ensure the smooth operation and efficient coordination of an agreement between two or more SMEs located in different regions or countries (international and interregional e-commerce zones) both participating SMEs and their corresponding support centres cooperate and coordinate. It is also important to mention that the structure proposed (ebXML architecture) virtually makes no distinction over the physical distance among SMEs during an RBVO and SLA formation.

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Kingston University - School of Computing & Information Systems
Kingston University - School of Computing & Information Systems
KT1 2EE Kingston-Upon-Thames
United Kingdom
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