Virtual business and location
The so-called "virtual business" is a business organisation relying electronic means for its operation, such telecommuting and videoconferencing. As Web 2.0 services, have risen in popularity, many businesses have begun to use these communicative and collaborative technologies to reach their customers. The rapid increase in virtual business has reflected the desire and enthusiasm of many employees to work from home, as freelancers or consultants. The virtual business/business process is the act of decentralising to achieve competitive advantages for the business.
The exponential increase in Web 2.0 tools to promote social collaboration and business communication has inspired the following aggregation of real time counters produced by Gary Hayes on his blog, Personalize Media:
A virtual business employs electronic means to transact business as opposed to a traditional business that relies on face-to-face transactions with physical documents and physical currency. Amazon.com was a virtual business pioneer, delivering and brokering bookstore services and connecting buyers and sellers without a physical retail store location. It took the notion of virtual business to its core market by developing its e-reader, the Kindle, which allows online downloading of books straight to the device.
A virtual business owner does not need to base its marketing plans on the local market qualifications. Instead, it can define its ideal customer in as much detail as possible, and search the globe for markets that meet this profile. Internet and web 2.0 technologies mean that e-commerce firms are not restricted to located in certain locations, and as such have become true footloose industries is a general term for an industry or business activity that can be placed at any location without effect from factors such as resources or transport.
Many physical businesses have recognised the convenience and cost-effectiveness of employ a 'blended solution' where they mix both physical and business operations; others, such as Second Life operate solely in a virtual world, selling virtual property, goods and services to virtual customers in a virtual world.
A virtual business relies on little or no staff. Instead, functions are outsourced, based on need, to other small business owners and services. There are many environmental and economic advantages of using virtual business services, such as those highlighted in the following sales video from Seltra, which uses Second Life to host business conferences and events in a virtual rather than a physical location.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages on using an online conference and events service such as those offered by Seltra, over a physically located conference.
Triple A Learning
Triple A Learning Ltd. is a provider of unique high quality online IB-approved workshops and IB resources. It is a virtual business in that all of its employees work remotely from different locations in the UK and uses a range of internet services and web 2.0 tools to conduct business activities. IB resources are downloaded via the internet for use on Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) within schools and colleges rather than being published as a physical resource, such as a printed book or article. As you are reading this case study, you are of course involved in this experience in the most direct of ways!
Being a global organisation teacher training workshops are conducted virtually too, rather than using traditional face-to-face training methods. The mentors who guide the training sessions are from every continent and time zone differences mean that much of the training is done asynchronously (at different times by different participants) using collaborative Web 2.0 tools such as discussion forums, wikis, RSS feeds and blogs. Some of the training is done synchronously (together) using virtual live classrooms, where participants can speak directly to mentors, who can upload documents, videos and sound files and draw on 'virtual' whiteboards.
A large number of MYP and DP subject blogs have been developed since 2010 written by senior IB examiners and experienced IB teachers. These provide a free resource to the IB community.
Select a virtual business and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of operating a business in this way.