This section gives a very brief overview of the requirements for e-commerce. However, it is important to understand that all of these are not necessarily required for all levels of e-commerce. Requirements widely vary with different kinds of e-commerce activities.
Telecommunication Infrastructure Requirements
This mostly entails bandwidth and security. The requirement for bandwidth varies widely from one e-commerce activity to another making it hard to generalize. Bandwidth usually becomes crucial for service-based B2B e-commerce as opposed to product-based one and high-traffic B2C e-commerce as opposed to low-traffic one. Two main components of security requirements for e-commerce are type of firewall and encryption/algorithm mechanism. This also varies widely from one e-commerce activity to the other. Ranging from protection against unwanted disclosure of client information to guarantee of reliable electronic payment. Security requirements are a crucial part of e-commerce.
Hardware Requirements for E-commerce
Hardware requirements for high-traffic sites may be dependent on the following issues: number of transactions per second; number of hits per second; number of queries per second; number of queries done by RDBMS per second; number of pages served per second involving all of the above parameters. Some other factors that need to be considered when setting up a high traffic e-commerce site include clustering i.e. use of backup servers which automatically takes over operations in case of failure of primary ones. Low-traffic sites can be easily served from a single machine depending on the needs of the business. Pentium II/III based Intel server running Linux can serve hundreds of unique customers each day.
Software Requirements for E-commerce
several software are available free on the Internet that can be used to build e-commerce exchanges. Some examples are Apache Web Server, Apache-Jserv Servlet Engine, Linux Operating System, mySQL database, postgresql etc. Many of these open source software may not be adequate for high-traffic sites.
Technical Skill Requirements
A systems administrator must have a good knowledge of computer hardware, must be able to maintain and upgrade hardware including hard drive, processor and motherboard. He/she must also have the skill to install and compile Apache, mySQL and Java servlet engine. A developer needs to be a high level programmer with a few years of experience in the industry and must possess a clear understanding of how an e-commerce system works. Understanding how information flows from one end of the system to another and what modifications take place in between is essential. Specific required skills include programming skills in C, PHP and Java and knowledge on SQL programming and data architecture
Payment procedures are the ways in which a seller can receive payment in return for the goods or services sold. Access to these services depends on the banking infrastructure in location of selling and customers’ locations. For full-fledged e-commerce transaction the banking infrastructure requirements should be as follows:
Dependable telecommunication network
Use of integrated banking software for back office and front office data processing
Use of WAN and Internet for banking operations
Availability of Electronic fund transfer System
Availability of Electronic Clearing System
Availability of Public Key based Encryption System
Availability of Credit Card System both for local and international payment
Availability of Foreign Exchange Remittance Mechanism over the Internet
Availability of Legal Infrastructure supporting online payment mechanism Interim Solution:
If local telecommunication services in a country do not allow for direct connection of a web site to secure payment facilities, and in particular to those offered by credit card companies, it may be possible to host a web site in a neighboring location that is capable of providing the necessary financial connections.
Legal and Policy Framework
In general, policies that ensure legal certainty, security and consumer protection for online transactions and interactions should be enacted. These include the resolution of issues such as transactional security, electronic contract enforceability and the authentication of individuals and documentation. The development of such an enabling environment has involved a joint focus of government and private sectors on: an efficient and sound financial system (including online payments, the use of electronic currency and foreign exchange liberalization), an efficient, inexpensive and reliable telecommunication system (including to long-distance market, competitive local exchange carriers, and high speed lines),legal mechanisms for the enforcement of contract law, consumer protection and defense of intellectual property rights, an efficient tax administration, and swift, transparent, and reliable customs operations. The following factors, often influenced by national policy, should be considered: Perceived political risk, Predictability of the legal environment, Soundness of economic and monetary policy, Openness to foreign direct investment, Convertibility of local currency, Restrictions on capital flows, Credit card usage, Credit card processing protocols, Access to credit, Entrepreneurial culture, Access to startup capital, Regulations and restrictions on small business.