E-business opportunities for the electricity industry : an exploratory study of the UK deregulated and Malaysian regulated electricity environments
The increased use of the Internet and web technology has introduced various web based applications and strategies for businesses such as the e-Business developments. The move to an information-based economy where information has become an important value added resource, has also helped to accelerate the e-Business adoption process. In this research, e-Business is regarded as more than just technology; it encompasses a concept, ideas, and strategies to integrate individual information systems in order to create knowledge management systems for an organisation's internal processes and their activities in the supply chain. The impact and strategic significance of e-Business has been discussed widely for industries such as finance, advertising, entertainment, and travel. However, its impact on large traditional, hierarchical, monopolistic enterprises that were formerly owned by government, such as electricity, gas, and postal companies, has only had limited analysis. In order to investigate the effects of e-Business on these types of enterprises, this research has chosen the electricity industry as its focus. This research discusses the background, models, and theories of e-Business in general. Subsequently, it looks at the current structure and dynamics of the electricity industry, in particular deregulation, and analyses how industry players have adapted to the new deregulated environment. This research then investigates e-Business opportunities within the electricity industry by exploring current e-Business perceptions, approaches, barriers to implementation, and strategies of the companies operating in both the deregulated and regulated electricity environment. Using a mainly qualitative method, this research presents the findings from five UK case companies (representing electricity companies operating in a deregulated environment) and one case company from Malaysia (representing a traditional and monopolistic electricity company operating in a regulated environment). This research then provides a framework for current e-Business implementation in the electricity industry and its future potentials based on the UK and Malaysian experiences. It also provides a point of reference for other companies planning to implement e-Business as one of the ways to compete successfully in the deregulated environment.