How to start an eCommerce business as an information technology project

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How to start an eCommerce business as an information technology project

Is it possible to start an online store business as an information technology project?

You may be wondering what I am smoking* to think or even imagine that an online shop could be related to Information Technology (IT). During one of my guest lectures for business continuity at a tertiary learning institution the marketing executive said:

With all these marketing activities around online shop it cannot be IT's responsibility to make your online shop a success"

 I somehow strongly disagree with this statement for the following reasons…

 About Blog and Blogger

 In response the comment above I am glad you are reading this blog as I will try and respond to why an e-commerce project is an IT project.

In any formal setup it is always wise to introduce one to everyone so that you get to know what could be influencing the thinking process for an individual.

About me - I was born Chris Tichar Gombe and now I go by the name AfricanSAttire on most social platforms where I market AfricansAttire.com a premium African Attire brand specialising in African print menswear. Juulz my wife co-owns this online shop and I am the CEO.

I have been managing successful Information Systems projects since 2005 and have worked with various conglomerate, small, NGOs, Government departments and parastatals. As for my qualifications I am an Alumni of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) as well as the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town respectively.

I studied Computer programming and rose thru the IT ranks with the highest position being Head of IT.

That’s enough about me so let’s talk about e-commerce being an IT project.”

 

To simplify the Systems Approach thinking process I apply to explain my point I emphasize that you please read the next sections and challenge my thinking.

  1. Information Technology projects are initiated by business for various reasons but the important points to note are:
    1. The IT department does not own any project.
    2. IT department is accountable for the delivery of IT iniatives as trusted specialists in that field. Just like corporate attorneys they are trusted in the legal needs for the business so if you are thinking of starting an online business, forget about those scary store design screens, it is not your job.
    3. IT are the enablers of business strategy
  2. These IT projects deliver Information Systems which is an addition of People, Process and Technology to the original business requirement. In this instance our requirement it to setup online store for a company.
  3. Projects are unique value adding endeavours implemented in response to a business need.
  4. Projects have a definite start and finish date, they are not operations that do repetitive tasks when you serve your customers.
  5. Projects have a 4 phased life cycle starting with Concept/Initiation, Design & Development, Implementation / Execution and Commissioning/Close out.
  6. The same IT projects can be categorised into the following:
    1. Package Implementation - (e.g. Microsoft Office and in this instance I will refer to Shopify e-commerce platform.
    2. Infrastructure projects - (e.g. New Telephone system and in our case Shopify platform infrastructure is Cloud based).
    3. The term Infrastructure refers to Hardware you use (laptop), Software on that hardware (Africans Attire App), Data is all those characters and numbers you type into the software loaded on the hardware and finally Network is that connectivity method you use i.e. LAN network in the office, 3G and 4G, ADSL, Wi-Fi, Microwave and many more.
    4. Software development are those projects where the team analyses, designs, develops, test and rollout for business use into the production(live) environment. This is commonly known as Systems Development Life Cycle.
    5. Compliance projects are those regulatory or governance type of projects where a company has to comply to a particular standard e.g. ISO9001 quality process.
  7. Now that we have an idea about what an IT project is, lets categorise an e-commerce project to justify why it is an IT project. Remember IT will be managing this because business strategy would have identified need for competitiveness.

 

 

Infrastructure

Package Implementation

Software Development

Compliance

Shopify e-commerce Software

No (But remember you may need to buy a computer of laptop, 3g connection and some storage hardware

Yes (Even though there is some configuration required this is an off the shelf packaged solution

No – only configuration specific to your business entity

No unless your industry requires it as mandatory e.g. Banks

Payroll Software

20% - if using cloud solution, without cloud there are servers, networking, backup and storage devices

50% - some companies implement these solutions as is from the package but majority are forced to develop some interfaces with their legacy systems.

20% - interfaces and data migration from old systems calls for software development effort

10% - depends on industry

 

Now that we have tried to explain a few important aspects and elements of an IT project, I hope you agree that setting up an e-commerce shop is an IT project and that IT does not own the e-commerce shop but are rather trusted by you the business owner to manage it on your behalf.

 

Please also NOTE that the examples used in this blog are not a representation of the full scope of things but I rather narrowed the specifics to enable anyone interested to easily understand and obtain value.

 

NEXT BLOG>>>>>HOW DO YOU START AN IT (Ecommerce) Project

 

 

 

 


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