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E-business coursework
Module code: COIY042H5
Description, guidelines and marking scheme
1. Introduction
This assignment is an integral part of this module and contributes 25% to the overall mark.
You will work in groups of 2. This applies to all stages/parts of the assignment.
You should analyse a business of your choice and identify the main elements of its business
strategy. The business may be already involved in e-business or may be interested in getting
involved. In any case, you should identify the benefits for this business to do e-business. You
can work with a real company that you are familiar with or a fictional one. You should explore
the current status of e-business in the selected sector by looking at relevant technical,
organisational, societal and individual factors, and make recommendations to the company
with regards to the technologies involved to become (more) successful in e-business.
The assignment has three parts: these are explained in Sections 2-4 below. Section 5 of this
document gives you an example of how to structure your essay and explains the marking
scheme. Section 6 presents the deadlines and submission instructions. Section 7 explains the
penalties for late submissions, and Section 8 explains how the College deals with plagiarism.
2. Identify and analyse the benefits of a business in becoming ebusiness
You should analyse a business of your choice and identify the main elements of its business
strategy. The business may be already involved in e-business or may be interested in getting
involved. You should identify the benefits for this business to do e-business. It might be a real
company that you are familiar with or a fictional one. If you decide to go for a fictional
company you are responsible to make your description consistent and realistic. In either case,
your company should be active in a business area that at least one (or more) of you
understands well.
You should describe the company, i.e. number of employees, turnover, geographical area
where it is active, what are its products, what is its market (size, customer profile). Describe
the business targets for the next few years and identify the benefits that your selected
company will have after getting involved in e-commerce.
To help you with your work, these are some factors you can take into account in your analysis
of benefits:
 Broad Benefits: Strategic planning and the right approach can modernise or re-launch
company image; Increase efficiency and cut costs; Attract and retain customers; Improve
communication with suppliers and reduce time to market; Cut transaction costs
 Measurable Gains: Reduce cost of transactions; Better customer information and low cost of
capture; Targeting of special offers and promotions; Target 80%/20% – specials for key
customers; Reordering facilities promote loyalty; 7/24 global service; Shorter time to market
 Virtual Commerce Benefits: Virtual expansion less costly than physical; Easier publishing of
detailed product information (GM food information, health and diet tips, menu planning,
special nutritional support); Opportunity to diversify (Tesco sells CD, videos, books DVDs);
Partnership opportunities; Organic foods, shop at work; Cash flow gainsPage 2 of 7
3. Explore the current status of e-business in the selected business
You can explore the current status of e-business in the selected sector by looking at relevant
technical, organisational, societal and user/customer issues. Remember that in e-business the
main technical concern for the company is to be able to guarantee the overall functionality of
its web services, and ensure that this functionality matches with customer needs and the
particular characteristics of the sector, e.g. competition, local infrastructure and so on. You can
consider technical issues such as interoperability, system integration, security authentication,
At the organisational level, the adoption of appropriate e-business models is closely related to
the ways single business firms or value networks of collaborating firms conduct business. The
e-business model has also an impact on the performance of the organisation and it is affected
by the structure of the particular sector. Although in general successful e-business adoption
requires structural changes in the company, it is acknowledged that not all businesses face the
same changes. One way to analyse this is to look at how much internet usage influences the
product sales within the sector (e.g. digital content such as software, audio, and video is easily
distributed via Internet); how much the format of the product facilitates distribution, and how
much the customers profiles (tastes and habits) affect the sales performance (e.g. MP3 files
and P2P networks). With regards to customer profiles, you should take into account that these
depend on the market environment and they evolve in the time as the industrial structures,
the markets and the consumer orientations change.
Of course changes in business practices and structures affect individuals and groups. For
example, the adoption of Internet has changed working practices, customer relationships,
product delivery mechanisms, staff skills, staff training etc. As new e-business models lead to
new business practices these affect the behaviour of individuals, and the society as a whole.
These changes are expected to influence peoples’ everyday life as much as they affect work
and employment. Thus in this part you should provide insight on these issues. Lastly, you
should also explore the influence of individual differences. Literature suggests that individual
differences have an impact on the success of e-business within a sector, as the mental and the
decision making processes of customers differ along several dimensions, e.g. culture, gender,
life style etc.
4. Developing the e-business
Your company should get a deep insight of technical risks involved in becoming e-business.
You should provide advice on the fundamental technologies underlying current and future
networks and identify design limitations and possibilities offered by e-business infrastructures.
Describe the envisaged website for the company and discuss the technologies involved. Give a
rational for the envisaged functionalities (you can use screenshots from existing websites to
illustrate and justify your proposals- make sure all sources are cited properly). Discuss the
usability aspects of the website you are proposing and explain your approach to evaluate the
user satisfaction with the website.
5. Assignment outline and marking scheme
Your work will be presented in a report (about 3000 words). It is important that your report is
properly structured. Sections like the ones shown below should be included in your report to
ensure good coverage of the topic.
1. Introduction (10% of the marks)
1.1 The case context (sector overview): Brief description of the business sector
selected. Page 3 of 7
1.2 Describe the company: Include a brief overview of the company (what it does, how
large it is, etc. – and its web presence – e.g., what functions are available to the
customers, overall structure, what are its products, what is its market, what are its
business targets for the next few years)
1.3 Identify the benefits that your selected company will have after getting involved in
2. Current status of e-business in the sector (30% of the marks)
2.1 Current (or potential) involvement in electronic business: Which companies, of
those you investigated, performed ‘better’? What did they do better? How could the
rest of the companies improve their sites? (what might be the next steps to follow?)
Why do you think some of the companies performed better than others? (try to find
more information on the companies – e.g., do the best developed sites belong to
larger companies? Did you find differences in what companies from different
countries do?)
2.2 e-business model(s) adopted (or proposed): start you search with your textbook
and the resources described in the study guide. Identify E-business applications and
roles of actors involved in the organisation. Present and analyse e-factors: which
factors (either technical or organisational or individual or industrial or societal can
be identified in the case and how are they manifested; Impact (positive or
negative) of relevant factors on the e-business strategy of the organisation, and ebusiness
planning in particular. How the impact of this factor is managed (which
business process deal with this factor and which actors are involved, what policies
are in place etc.)
2.3 Summary: which factors contribute (currently and which in the future) to the
success of e-business in the case.
3. Developing your e-business (40% of the marks)
3.1 Brief description of the envisaged website (with reference to the business sector it is
developed in) and the envisaged capabilities of your application with appropriate
justification/rational. Include screenshots where necessary to illustrate your ideas
and proposals (for example from other existing websites).
3.2 Explain the technologies involved. Particular emphasis should be given to the
following features that a commercial website should have: product management,
payment management, advertising policies, order management, sales analysis.
Include screenshots where necessary to illustrate your ideas and proposals.
3.3 Discuss usability methods for evaluating the website. Explain and justify your
approach to evaluate this company’s website.
3.4 Explain the critical success factors for your overall plan to work in practice
4. Conclusions (10% of the marks)
4.1 Provide an overview/summary of the overall project and your findings.
4.2 Identify areas for improvement of the e-business in the sector you investigated.
5. Bibliography (10% of the marks)
Provide a list of the bibliographical/web sources you used. Include publication details
and all information necessary to access the online resources. Sources should be cited in
the text by (Author name, year) and appear in the references list in alphabetical order
by Author’s last name. This also applies to websites, e.g. an online article/webpage
should be listed in your references as follows: (Managementfirst, 2005). Success and
failure factors of adopting SAP in ERP system implementation. Available online at 4 of 7
6. Deadlines and submission instructions
Submissions will only be accepted via Moodle.
Make sure you are familiar with Moodle and able to upload your files (for example you could
test the system by uploading a test file). You can submit as many versions of your essay as
you like but the system only keeps that last file uploaded. It is not possible to accept a
hardcopy of the essay.
You should upload on Moodle the completed assignment by 1:00pm on January 5,
2015 (this is Moodle time not your PC’s time. In case you are planning to upload your files
whilst at a remote location make sure you check the Moodle time and take into account time
zone differences).
Submitted files may not exceed 20 MB.
The submitted report should be in either Microsoft Word, Rich Text Format (RTF) or preferably
in Portable Document Format (PDF) format so that it can be checked by Turnitin. Please
note the following point from the Turnitin manual:
PDF documents must contain text to be submitted. PDF files containing only images of
text will be rejected during the upload attempt. To determine if a document contains actual
text, copy and paste a section or all of the text into a plain-text editor such as Microsoft
Notepad or Apple TextEdit. If no text is copied over, the selection is not actual text.
The submitted file should be named using last name of the author i.e. if I was
submitting a piece of coursework my file would be roussos.pdf.
Each member of the group should submit a file with his/her own name.
Your PDF document MUST have a cover page with the following information:
Module title and code: E-business (COIY042H5)
Title of essay: Give the title for your work here – usually this includes the name of
the company
Name (if there are several authors, each one must be listed)
Emails (if there are several authors, each one should provide an email)
Each piece of submitted work MUST also have a page entitled “Academic Declaration” by the
author(s) that certifies that the author(s) have read and understood the sections of plagiarism
in the School Handbook and confirm that the work is their own, with the work of others fully
acknowledged. Submissions must also be accompanied by a declaration giving us permission
to submit the essay to the plagiarism testing database that the College is using. The author of
the report must sign the Academic Declaration.
The Academic Declaration should read as follows: “I have read and understood the
sections of plagiarism in the School Handbook and confirm that the work is my own,
with the work of others clearly acknowledged. I give my permission to submit my
essay to the plagiarism testing database that the College is using and test it using
plagiarism detection software, search engines or meta-searching software.”
You should note that all original material is retained by the School for reference by internal and
external examiners when moderating and standardising the overall marks after the end of the
course. You will receive a grade and feedback through Moodle 20 working days after the cutoff
deadline (see Section 7).Page 5 of 7
Those who would like to get some early feedback on their assignment before submitting the
completed work, they can email <> the Introduction part of the
essay (see the Outline in Section 5 above) for comments. This should be done before 1pm on
December 12 as I will not be able to comment on drafts sent after this date.
7. Late coursework
It is departmental policy to accept and mark late items of coursework. You do not need to
negotiate new deadlines and there is no need to obtain prior consent of the module leader.
Late coursework will be accepted up to and including seven working days after the deadline
above. Therefore the last day the system will accept a late submission for this module
is 1pm on January 12, 2015 (this is Moodle time not your PC’s time. In case you are
planning to upload your files whilst at a remote location make sure you check the Moodle time
and take into account time zone differences).
January 12, 2015 at 1:00pm is the absolute cut-off
deadline for coursework submission.
Penalty applies on late submissions. Thus the maximum mark one can get is 40%. If
you believe you have good cause to be excused the penalty for late submission of your
coursework, you must make a written request and attach any evidence. Your letter should be
handed in to the Course Director (with a carbon copy to the module leader) as soon as
possible, ideally that is by the cut-off deadline. This letter does not need to be submitted at the
same time as you submit the coursework itself but MUST be submitted by January 19,
Be advised that as soon as you know that you will not be able to meet the deadline, it will
likely be useful for you to discuss this with the module leader. They will be able to advise you
on how best to proceed. Given that you work in groups, a discussion will help you to work out
how best you might handle this aspect of your work. Another person to speak to, particularly if
the problem is serious, is the Undergraduate Programme Director. You will then have the
opportunity to discuss various options as to how best to continue your studies; this might
involve taking some time out or some other ways designed to help you to effectively manage
your studies.
Further details concerning the rules and regulations with regard to all matters concerning
assessment (which naturally includes coursework), you should consult what is known as
“College Regulations for Internal Students and Regulations for Degrees” and “Examination
Regulations”. You can find this online at the College’s website (under Registry) Please see the 2014/15 programme booklet for
the rules governing late submissions and consideration of mitigating circumstances
and the policy in mitigating circumstances at the College’s website (under Registry) .
8. Plagiarism
The College defines plagiarism as “copying a whole or substantial parts of a paper from a
source text (e.g. a web site, journal article, book or encyclopedia), without proper
acknowledgement; paraphrasing of another’s piece of work closely, with minor changes but
with the essential meaning, form and/or progression of ideas maintained; piecing together
sections of the work of others into a new whole; procuring a paper from a company or essay
bank (including Internet sites); submitting another student’s work, with or without that
student’s knowledge; submitting a paper written by someone else (e.g. a peer or relative), and
passing it off as one’s own; representing a piece of joint or group work as one’s own”. Page 6 of 7
The College considers plagiarism a serious offence, and as such it warrants disciplinary action.
This is particularly important in assessed pieces of work where the plagiarism goes so far as to
dishonestly claim credit for ideas that have been taken from someone else. According to
paragraph 3.2 of the College’s Procedures for Dealing with Plagiarism by Students on Taught
Programmes of Study: “A student who knowingly assists another student to plagiarise (for
example by willingly giving them their own work to copy from) is committing an examination
Each piece of submitted work MUST have an “Academic Declaration” form signed by
the student(s) which certifies that the students have read and understood the
sections of plagiarism in the School Handbook and confirm that the work is their
own, with the work of others fully acknowledged. Submissions must be also
accompanied by a declaration giving us permission to submit coursework to a
plagiarism testing database that the College is subscribed.
If you submit work without acknowledgement or reference of other students (or
other people), then this is one of the most serious forms of plagiarism. When you
wish to include material that is not the result of your own efforts alone, you should make a
reference to their contribution, just as if that were a published piece of work. You
should put a clear acknowledgement (either in the text itself, or as a footnote) identifying the
students that you have worked with, and the contribution that they have made to your
9. Referencing
References include the full bibliographic information about the source, such as the author(s)’s
name(s), date of publication, title of work, place of publication, and publisher. This information
is usually given in the section called Reference List or Bibliography at the end of the text. The
key principle is that you should give enough information to allow another person to find the
source for themselves.
Here are some examples using the Harvard referencing system:
[when you are referring to a book]
Lewin, K., 1951. Field Theory in Social Science. New York: Harper and Row.
[when you are referring to a chapter in a book, where ‘ed.’ means editor, and ‘edn.’ means
Piaget, J., 1970. Piaget’s theory. In: P. Smith, ed., Handbook of child psychology. 3rd edn.
New York: Wiley, 1970, pp. 34-76.
[when you are referring to a journal article]
Holmqvist, M., 2003. A Dynamic Model of Intra- and Interorganizational Learning. Organization
Studies, 24(1), 95-123.
[when you are referring to a webpage]
W3C, Web Accessibility Guidelines and Techniques, available online at Last accessed 12/05/2007.
Independent of their type (e.g. book, article, webpage), all references are included
at the end of a document in alphabetical order starting from the author’s name as in the
example above. Page 7 of 7
10. Useful resources
Here are some resources on plagiarism, study skills, time management and referencing that
can help you to better manage your project and avoid plagiarism.
On Plagiarism
On Referencing Systems
 Neville, C., 2006. Referencing and Bibliography Workbook. University of Bradford
Effective Learning Service. Available to download at:
On Study Skills
On Time Management
11 Exploitation of coursework outputs
Students may choose to involve outside organisations, such as industrial or commercial
companies (large or small), hospitals, schools, charities and so on, or their full-time employer.
While this kind of “real-world” projects can provide valuable experience for students, they may
carry a greater element of risk than describing a fictional company and its involvement in ebusiness
and need to be approached with more care. Students who prefer to work on an idea
proposed by an external organisation should consult the College’s “Financial Regulations and
Procedures” regarding exploitation of results (
This document states that:
“Section G 14.2.1 (ii) Except as otherwise as agreed in writing, if a student in the course of
studies, produces any original works (including computer software) which may be
commercially exploitable, the College shall be entitled to the copyright in such works and shall
use its best endeavours to secure royalties. These will be shared as set out in the detailed code
of practice”.
These regulations also state: “Students are required to comply with the College procedures for
notifying any invention, device, material, product or process, computer software or other
potentially valuable result which it is considered might have commercial significance, whether
patentable or not, developed or invented during the course of students’ research or study at
the College”.

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