Book summary: This invaluable 243-page report explains Web technology and its implementation for marketing, publicity, and E-commerce. From launching a Web site to assessing future Web directions, CTR's report equips information systems (IS) managers with the skills necessary for developing a cohesive Web strategy for their organizations. The report also discusses security risks and emerging transaction security standards.
What is the World Wide Web?
Why is there a rush to get on the World Wide Web (the Web)? Where did it come from? Who are its users? CTR's report, The World Wide Web: Strategies and Opportunities for Business, is the definitive guide to understanding and exploiting this critical technology.
The Web can be defined simply as a client/server (C/S) Internet application that allows users to navigate by using hypertext documents. The Web's vast popularity is due to its ease-of-use, its ability to connect to diverse hardware platforms with a single graphical user interface (GUI), and its ability to front-end other Internet applications.
The report discusses the origins of the Web, including the roots of hypertext markup language (HTML) -- the primary technology behind the Web. While the Web was originally designed as groupware for physicists in Switzerland, much of the Web's growth resulted from the creation of the Mosaic user interface at the National Center for Super Computing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, United States.
Who sets the standards for the Web and what organizations are in charge of its future development? The report explores the Internet standards community and its relationship to the Web Consortium.
A New Way of Doing Business
Everyone has heard about the Web, but exactly how are corporations using it? The World Wide Web: Strategies and Opportunities for Business explains how to effectively utilize the Web for marketing, publicity, and electronic commerce.
The Web presents a radically new marketing medium. The report analyzes key marketing issues such as Web user demographics, how to create content that keeps users coming back, and how to publicize a corporate Web site so that users can find it among the tens of thousands of servers on the global Internet. Case studies of both successful and unsuccessful sites are included.
In addition to creating a marketing presence with a worldwide reach, many major organizations are using the Web as in-house groupware and are developing intranets based on Web technology. The report analyzes in-house use of the Web and compares it to commercial groupware such as Lotus Notes.
Developing a Web Strategy
When developing a corporate Web site, the first question often is whether to outsource the Web server or to run it in-house. Pressure is being placed on many information systems (IS) managers to establish a presence for their organization on the Web. In some cases, sales and marketing staff circumvent IS involvement by outsourcing a Web site through a consultant.
The World Wide Web: Strategies and Opportunities for Business provides the vital information needed to develop a comprehensive Web strategy, taking into account both the current state of Web technology and future Web trends.
Web Technologies Explained
Based on C/S architecture, the Web is comprised of multiple operating systems and protocols. Web sites can include multimedia files incorporating audio, video, and animation, as well as plain text. The World Wide Web: Strategies and Opportunities for Business provides a comprehensive explanation of Web technology, including its native protocol, hypertext transport protocol (HTTP), and discusses how the Web handles protocols for other applications such as file transfer protocol (FTP), electronic mail (E-mail), and Usenet news. The report also covers the move toward interactive applications on the Web.
The report addresses the technical aspects of creating Web content, such as the benefits and limitations of HTML. The report suggests strategies for ensuring that a Web site will load quickly on graphical Web browsers while incorporating designs that communicate the company message. Browsers, such as Mosaic and Netscape, are the front-end applications through which the Web is viewed -- the report evaluates their features, their relative popularity, and the platforms they support.
Web Security Concerns
For corporate IS managers, the move toward the Web as a platform for electronic commerce raises critical security concerns. The report describes the transaction security standards that currently exist, as well as payment schemes such as digital cash, electronic checks, and online credit card processing. The report also provides guidelines for building a secure Web server.