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As the world continues to modernize, technological innovations and advancements have not only been its consequence but also formed a significant aspect of the process. Technological innovation and advancement has led to global economic, social and cultural integration. With the onset of these changes business has evolved to be a global activity with stiff competition arising from elimination of economic and spatial boundaries. E-commerce is the immediate result of the growth of technology. Online transactions and monitoring of the transactions through Web analytics has particularly impacted the business environment. This paper will focus on web analytics by considering its impact on e-commerce. The paper will seek to particularly analyze the impact of web analytics on management of business operations, technology, and organization as a whole. The theories and models of contemporary management will also be explored with consideration of the characteristics of effective management. Careful distinction will be made on the impacts of management ethics, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development on modern business organizations.
Meaning and Implication of Web Analytics
The meaning of web analytics is broad. However, there is general consensus of what it all encompasses. The consensus is built on the functionality and operation of web analytics. Thus web analytics is considered to be the process of monitoring and consequent generation of reports based on the monitoring of the usage of a Web site (Peterson 2004, p 5). This process enables Web operators and business enterprises to clearly understand the relationship and interaction that exist between the visitors of the Web, their actions and the operations of the enterprise. Besides, the monitoring and reporting of the Web site usage helps to establish the effectiveness and strategic nature of the services and information that the Web site offers especially with respect to creation of insight to meeting of the customer demands. The success of Web analytics that is evaluated in terms of its effectiveness can enhance customer loyalty and thus increase sales (Peterson 2004, p. 5).
Web analytics involves utilization of various data from different sources to assess the performance of Web site. This data enhances evaluation of the experiences of the visitors who log in to the site. This implies that through Web analytics, an enterprise manager can be able determine the levels of usage of the Web and the consistent patterns that exist at individual and the aggregate level of the usage (Peterson 2004, p. 6). The information relating to visitors’ experiences, frequency of access and satisfaction of the users can evidently be relevant and critical to the improvement of the site performance in terms of the content thus enhancing visitor experience. With this information, the management of the business is accurately able to identify existing opportunities, threats and risks in the operation environment.
Web Analytics and Management
Web analytics is essential in informing management principles, structures and decision-making processes. This is because of the data and information that is received from the Web site that is relevant in determining and influencing the productivity of any business enterprise that seeks to harness the benefits of e-commerce. Management strategies could require establishment of a centralized Web analytics program office (Boiko & Hartman 2010, p. 151). The establishment of such an office should be followed by formal recruitment and announcement of the existence of the Web analytics staff.
Boiko and Hartman posit that the top management can then promote clarity of communication between middle managers of respective strategic departments that exist to support Web analytics office including the departments that rely on the information from the Web analytics to launch new business production strategic initiatives (Boiko & Hartman 2010, 151). Effectiveness of e-commerce through Web analytics may require the management to link division, office and the goals of staff performance to the results of Web analytics (Boiko & Hartman 2010, p. 151). Besides, in order to realize the benefits of e-commerce, the management must be committed to the results of its Web analytics.
Web Analytics and the Organization
The effectiveness of e-commerce through Web analytics has great implications on the business organization. The business organization must have a Web analytics program office with specific defined roles. This office is mandated to provide leadership and coordination of all the processes relating to e-commerce and Web analytics throughout the organization. Thus Web analytics makes e-commerce relevant especially in informing and guiding market research.
Web project management office can be established in an organization. This facilitates e-commerce processes such as the requirement for page tagging. The initiative will also enhance and facilitate collection of data needed to inform strategic business and operation strategies in a competitive global business environment. The effectiveness of e-commerce is enhanced for the business organizations whose project management department is facilitated and empowered to operate the software engineering, server administration, and the governance of the Web site on behalf of the organization through well-trained personnel.
Web Analytics and Technology
Technology is greatly impacted by the onset of Web analytics in the field of e-business. This is because it is the component of the business organization structure that is entrusted with the mandate of guarding the integrity and security of business data. The development of Web analytics as a marketing tool of businesses has brought with it discomfort to some extent. Data flows freely out from the business to outsiders. This explains the role of the technology in enhancing security in e-commerce processes like Web analytics. Web analytics has led to the development of SAS (Software As a Service), a technology initiative that targets enhancement of data storage and security. This is to ensure that the privacy of the users is maintained.
Theories/Models of Modern Management
The modern management theories and models are generally two in approach and application. These are the transactional and the transformational models of management. The transformational model of management involves a leader or manager working in collaboration with followers to achieve organizational goals. The manager draws majorly upon personal charisma to intellectually stimulate the followers to improve their productivity and achieve the business targets (Bass & Riggio 2006, p. 4-5). The transformational model of management thus involves the manager persuading and challenging the followers to model him or her by identifying with his/her exemplary commitment to the transformation of the organization and the business processes.
Transformational model of management is founded on the principles of inspirational motivation of the subjects. There is general team spirit, enthusiasm and optimism towards the realization of the business goals. Bass & Riggi (2006, p. 5-6) cited that a transformational manager in the context of e-commerce and Web analytics is that person who aims at stimulating the stakeholders in the business organization to be innovative and creative by confronting historical challenges of the organization with new approaches based on creativity. The transformational manager would always like to influence and inspire the stakeholders to commit and accurately use the data received from the organization’s Web site to further improve the business (Bass & Riggio 2006, p. 6).
The transactional model of management is based on the assumption that employees are motivated through the use of punishments and rewards (Daft 2010, p. 424). This management theory is strongly founded on the belief that the subordinates are supposed to be loyal to the directives of the superiors. The subordinate employees are therefore supposed to be closely monitored and controlled to ensure that the organizational goals are met. In order to achieve the goals of e-commerce, the management must promote efficiency and effectiveness of the Web analytics processes through decisions that aim at cost reduction and enhancement of productivity.
The manager in the transactional model ensures that the business targets are met through action-oriented leadership styles. However, it is important to mention that in terms of implementing new business solutions through technological initiatives like Web analytics; transactional management theory is not particularly suitable. This is because transactional managers as opposed to transformational managers are responsive and only prefer working within the organizational culture (Daft 2010, p. 424; Northouse 2010, 181). This may thus be an impediment to the implementation of the requirements of an effective e-business operation system such as web analytics.
Factors Impacting Effective Management in the Global Environment
Management in the global environment is significantly affected by factors such as cross-cultural variations, difference in values of the workforce and target customers, varying levels of political and economic stabilities, and the differences in the level of development, especially technological development (Daft 2011, p. 46). Managing business in a global scale requires the management to be up to date with the multicultural orientations and beliefs of the targeted customers across the globe. For example, in a business that deals with reproductive health products, the manager can only succeed in implementing e-commerce initiatives and marketing when the target populations have values compatible with online ads. In some cultures, such activities may be considered immoral and thus the management must devise marketing strategies through Web site analytics and other e-commerce initiatives that are generally acceptable by the targeted consumers.
Web analytics can only be effective when the organization’s Web site is accessible across the globe. Difference in the level of development inform the expansion strategies of the management especially by determining the level of funding needed to provide the necessary infrastructure that can facilitate establishment of e-commerce tools across the globe (Daft 2011, p. 46-47). Besides, some countries or business localities may lack qualified candidates to facilitate the running of the business functions especially with advancing application of technology in a globalized competitive business environment. The management can therefore not be very effective until it can overcome this challenge.
Political turmoil, civil unrests and unpredictable business and economic policies may render the management generally unable to plan and effectively implement its business strategies across the globe. Daft (2011, p. 46) cited that the manager has to be increasingly flexible and open minded in the management goals and strategies especially in business environments where change is spontaneous. In environments that are stable, effective management is possible because of the predictability of the business environment.
Impacts of Managerial Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development on Modern Organizations
Ethics simply refers to any decision, practice or process that is considered to be reasonable and fair (Shaw 2011, p. 189). In using Web analytics, the management must ensure that customers are not for example defrauded. Such unethical practices, although may increase productivity of the business, have severe reputational and negative image on the organization. Defrauded customers may not visit the organization’s Web site and may influence the exit of other frequent customers. Customers may stop transactions with the organization on grounds of lack of privacy or consumer control. In the long run, management decisions that are unethical may contribute to disintegration of the business either because of rise in employee turnover or lost consumer loyalty.
Corporate Social Responsibility is the commitment by business organization to transact business ethically and participate, through contribution, to the economic development of the society and improving the quality of life of the immediate community (Shaw 2011, p. 190). This ethical initiative contributes to the image of the organization and can be used as a marketing strategy. Besides, it promotes, a business operation environment that is ethical and considerate of human welfare including that of employees. Thus an organization that is involved in Corporate Social Responsibility is likely to be profitable as it is considered by the society as a pillar in its development and welfare of its members.
Sustainable development is essentially the process of utilizing resources sparingly such that an organization is able to realize its immediate and long term goals. Shaw (2011, p. 190) posits that a business organization that is founded on the principles of sustainable development survives longer in a competitive environment. This is because of strategic plans that consider not only the current challenges but also the long term challenges. This is evident through strategic investment in the human resources, marketing initiatives and technological innovations such as the modern use of e-commerce and Web analytics.
Principles of Planning and Decision-Making
All the decisions that an organization makes through its management team must be guided by the principle of accountability. This implies that all the organization is accountable to the stakeholders including the customers and the employees take responsibility for all the decisions that they make at the departmental level (Dubrim 2009, p. 257). Decision making process must also be based on the principle of flexibility. This enables the business to adjust and adapt to changes that take place in the business environment such as technological advancements. This is related to the respectfulness as a principle in decision making that involves acceptance and tolerance of diverse views, values, interests and beliefs of all the stakeholders involved in the business. This promotes harmony and thus realization of the business goals.
In a modern business environment, the decisions that are made by the management must be reflective of the principle of inclusivity. Employees, trustees, shareholders and customers must be actively involved in the major organizational decisions (Northouse 2010, p. 76). This promotes unity and commitment of all the stakeholders to the realization of the goals of the organization. Without inclusivity, the organization may suffer from betrayal as some members disown business decisions. All the major strides of the business organization and decisions made towards their realization must be purpose-driven so as to accurately attain the vision and the mission of the organization.
Principles of Organizational Structure and Culture
The principles governing organizational structure entails the methods through which an organization maintain its structure and the approaches that it applies to realize efficiency in its structure and culture. These include the hierarchy of command where the subordinate are required to respect the authority of the management (Dubrim 2009, p. 257). Another important principle is that of role definition and job description. Every organization has clear rules that define the roles and the responsibilities of every employee. In implementing Web analytics for example, the mandate of Web analysis and interpretation is the designation of the Web Analysis Manager and not the accountant, for example.
Specialization as a principle in organizational structure involves division of labor in the organization based on the skills, training and experience of the staff. For example an organization should have departments that deal with product development, customer service, marketing, information and technology with roles that are not overlapping. Dubrim (2009, p. 258) cited that unity of command as a principle of organizational structure involves an employee reporting or being accountable to only one superior boss and not a chain of management personnel. This promotes accountability and realization of the organization’s strategic goals.
Principles of Effective Leadership and Management
Leadership and management processes must be rooted on the ethical principles. This requires that the management makes decisions that respect human dignity and moral values. The decision to embrace technology for example must consider its impact on the consumer, employees who are not IT experts and extent to which such a decision is not a violation of human rights and dignity (Northouse 2010, p. 54). Further, management and leadership processes must strive at enhancing realization organizational goals. For this to be realized, the management or leadership of business organizations must aim at improving efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
Management and leadership must be based on the principle of fairness. There has to be fairness in recruitment procedures, promotion or sanctions enforced against errant stakeholders. It is important to indicate that management and leadership can be effective if the manager or the leader is a model to the followers. This principle thus requires that the management set rules and lead by example by adhering to the values and norms of the organization. This includes the principle of integrity and honesty. Northouse (2010, p. 67) cited that the principle of honesty and integrity creates a foundation upon which stakeholders in the business organization can trust its leadership or management. This principle thus requires that the management set the goals and lead, by influence, the followers to work towards actualization of those goals.
The modern business landscape has grown to involve integration of markets through technological innovation and applications. The recent adoption of Web analytics has not only shaped the field of e-commerce but also grown to be used as a marketing, planning and management tool. Web analytics has thus significantly shaped management principles of businesses and the organizational structure especially because of the need to integrate modern technology into business processes. With its entry into business field, more risks have developed. However, strategic adoption of e-commerce through Web analytics has great business potentials for global corporations.