This should give you a good idea of how versatile the internet is as an information technology platform on which to base a variety of business strategies. You could group the ways that companies are using the internet for business into a few major application categories.

1. Interactive marketing

Because of the internet, marketing a company and its products and services has become an interactive process. The internet and the web enable companies to create a dialog with customers through online discussion groups, bulletin board, electronic questionnaires, and mailing lists and E-mail exchanges. Thus customers can be interactively involved in the development marketing, sales and support of products and services, along with a company’s market researchers, product designers, marketing and sales staff, and support specialists.

2. E-Commerce

The internet, the World Wide Web, and internet-based technologies such as intranets and extranets provide global links to a company’s customers and suppliers. This enables electronic commerce applications the marketing , buying, selling, and support of products and services over these networks.

3. Communications and collaboration

The internet, intranets, and extranets support real-time global communications and collaboration among employees, customer, suppliers and other business partners. Interactive web sites, E-mail, bulletin board systems, audio and video conferencing and other internet features enable internal and external business information to be researched and shared. This enables members of different organizations and people at different locations to work together as member of virtual teams on business projects to develop, produce, market, and maintain products and services.

4. Strategic Alliances

The internet enables companies to form strategic alliances with customers, suppliers, consultants, subcontractors, and even competitors. The internet enables global alliances of business partners to be quickly formed to take advantage or market opportunities by interconnecting the unique strength of each partner into and integrated network of business resources and capabilities.

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