This paper will discuss the difference between business-oriented networks and enterprise social networks. What makes up a social-networking site and what makes up a business-oriented social networking site and why are they different?
Another topic concerns why do organizations need a business continuity plan? Why is it important to determine what business will do if a disaster, man-made or natural, strikes? Three issues that a business continuity plan should cover concern identifying assets, controlling the flow if information, and determining who is in charge, what is the line of succession?
Many companies have created profitable businesses from selling small amounts of products previously sold in bigger chunks. Music and books are two such products. The market started asking to buy single songs and not the whole album; so how do you serve that market and still make a profit? Micropayment systems seemed to have come up with an answer, and it serves more than just the entertainment industry. This paper will discuss how this system works and how it is expanding beyond music and books.
How business-oriented networks and enterprise social networks differ
A social network is defined as a place where people can create a personalized homepage writing about events in their lives, post pictures of the family, short video’s, music, post and exchange thoughts and ideas, and link to their friend’s websites; in essence, they create their space on the internet. They can even tag, or create hashtags (#thisisme) for their content, add keywords, so the content is searchable. Others can comment, like, or share your content should you allow them to do so (Turban, 2012).
Mobile devices play a big role in social networking; enter mobile social networking. Users can let their social network know that they’re checking in at a local restaurant for dinner, or they’re at a favorite watering hole watching a live band. They can even post pictures as well as live videos of the event. Many entertainers encourage people attending these events to share their experience as it is free advertising and helps to increase sales of their products such as music or films. Data has shown that mobile social networking has increased subscribers by substantial amounts; the number of mobile subscribers accessing Facebook increased over 100% in one year from2009 to 2010 (Stackpole, 2012). Two basic types of mobile social networks exist; companies are partnering up with wireless carriers such as Yahoo and MySpace via AT&Ts wireless network, and companies that do not have such relationships with cell companies; they use other means in which to attract users such as mobile apps. Examples of these include Classmates.com and Couchsurfing.com.
Business Oriented sites, also known as professional social networks, primary objective are to foster business relationships amongst its members and subscribers. Examples of these sites include LinkedIn, ViaDeo, and Zing.
Many businesses are increasingly using these sites to increase their business contacts, especially in a global economy. Social networks make it easier to maintain contact with colleagues around the world. Companies can advertise businesses services and products. They can show expertise in their field using multiple media including educational presentations, articles, videos; all at virtually no cost to host. This low cost is especially beneficial to small companies. The small business can contact potential customers on the other side of the world. This type of connection was impossible ten years ago. This type of cross-border networking makes globalization available for the individual and the small business (Turban, 2012).
The need for a business continuity plan
The number one reason for a company to have a formalized disaster plan in place is to ensure ongoing business activities that provide business continuity with the least amount of disruption and costs for the business. Many businesses have failed due to a lack of disaster recovery planning because they could not guarantee business continuity that would allow them to survive an unexpected disaster (Turban, 2012).
Part of a company’s security efforts involve preparing for man-made or natural disasters since these may occur without any warning at any time. It is best to prepare an actual plan that will work effectively in the face of calamity. The most important part of this plan is the business continuity plan. It addresses the question of how the business is going to operate should an unexpected disaster occur. Most likely a disaster will be localized; if it’s a worldwide disaster, a plan would be unnecessary.
A disaster recovery plan confronts two issues: one how does the business recover from a disaster; two, how does it continue to operate should a disaster affect the business. This continuity is especially true for global businesses since, as stated earlier, a disaster is usually a localized event, and the business will want to ensure the rest of the business continues as those operations will help to pay for the cost of recovery. It is imperative for a business to have a disaster recovery plan in place to obtain insurance that covers the cost of recovery from the disaster. Disaster recovery describes the events linking the business continuity plan to safeguarding and ensuring recovery.
The purpose of a business continuity plan is to keep the business running after a disaster occurs. All functions and departments need to have in place an effective recovery plan. Part of that plan includes asset protection and recovery, even replacement. The plan needs to detail who makes the decisions, even to the point of secession. The plan needs to concentrate on total recovery from a total loss. The plan needs to be kept current due to changes in technologies, circumstances, even personnel. Critical applications need identifying. And the plan needs to be kept in a safe and accessible place.
A disaster recovery plan needs to cover many areas sufficiently to ensure recovery. It includes identification of assets and their value; including people, buildings, hardware, software, data, and supplies. A threat assessment needs to be conducted to include man-made and natural threats from inside or outside the business. Conduct a vulnerability assessment, and calculate the probability for exploitation, and evaluate all policies and procedures.
The music and book industries today allow consumers set up accounts allowing them to buy single songs, even individual chapters in a book at very low prices. Accumulation of single-item purchases occurs until the amount makes it cost-effective to submit the payment to the credit card company. These systems are known as closed-loop systems. The credit card companies are not enamored with these systems because it has caused them to lower their fees to capture what is becoming a huge industry. Much of this type of business was unimaginable 15 years ago. Today, transactions worth billions of dollars are being handled daily (Schonfeld, 2009))
The shopkeeper gathers all the purchases subscribers make until they are sufficient enough to submit to the credit card company to be cost effective. It’s much like gathering all the days sales at a cash only business and depositing the money in the bank at the end of the day. The problem is the shopkeeper risks waiting a long time on some low volume customers. By aggregating these purchases together, the shopkeepers lower their costs per transaction to the credit card company enabling to operate profitably.
Other industries that are successfully taking advantage of micropayments include mobile banking and microfinancing to poor, underdeveloped areas of Africa; M-Pesa has been successfully operating in Kenya and Tanzania, and has spread to India and Afghanistan as well. Cell phone technology has allowed people in remote areas to apply for and receives loans as small as $100.00 allowing them to finance business operations and providing electricity to their homes using solar powered generators (Mutiga, 2014).
The difference between business-oriented networks and enterprise social networks occur in the area of concentration addressed by the individual sites and how they meet their subscriber needs. FaceBook addresses the need for their subscribers to interact on a social basis, sharing thoughts, family news and photos, opinions are important to this group. LinkedIn allows for sharing contact information, providing specifications on products, showing expertise, getting a job. Mobile devices have played a big role in both businesses oriented as well as the social networking sites so that people can share and talk with each other at anytime from anywhere.
The need for a disaster recovery plan must include a business continuity plan. With a business continuity plan, the business will find it difficult, if not impossible, to find the resources needed to recover from a man-made or natural disaster. Business continuity ensures that the business has continual incoming resources adequately funding the recovery.
Micropayment of become successful because it addressed a need and demand in the marketplace for services otherwise unavailable without it. The market was demanding the ability to be supplied with goods and services on a smaller scale rather than previously available; especially with entertainment and finance products. Entrepreneur’s stepped up and began to determine that if they aggregated their sales receipts and submitted them in bundles rather than individually, they could cut their costs while also serving their customers. The rest of the market, mostly the credit card industry, had to change to meet the demand.
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