Welcome to club-e-biz.com

Peter Ho

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The world of e-commerce is changing at the speed of light. Companies boom and go bust in the blink of an eye. New business strategies come and go like whirlwinds. Everyone involved in e-business, from theorists to practitioners, have a difficult time keeping up with the latest developments, let alone share their experience and wisdom with others.

To address this growing need among the e-business community in Hong Kong and to serve as a bridge between academia and the professional community, the Department of Information Systems has established Club-ebiz.com, which will promote knowledge sharing and applied research in e-business.

"What better way to keep all parties of an e-business community closely connected than through the harnessed power of the Internet?" said Professor Matthew Lee, Head of Information Systems

and principal investigator of the applied research project, "Club e-biz.com". The Club, set up last year, is meant to be an electronic meeting place for academic researchers, e-business students and industry practitioners. Yet membership is open to anyone who has more than a passing interest in the emerging discipline of e-business. At present, more than 600 people have signed up, of which 400 are business professionals.

"To make our teaching and research relevant to the needs of the business community," Professor Lee explained, "those of us in academia have to be continuously in touch with the latest developments in e-business." In the past, such industry and professional input usually come from a group of departmental advisors, who served a term of two to three years and meet once or twice a year, to review programme curriculum and propose industry links. This, Professor Lee said, has become inappropriate in a business world feeding on innovation and constant change. On the other hand, many practitioners entrenched in day-to-day operations often feel the need for a better grasp of underlying issues in e-business.

The Club is not entirely virtual in nature, Professor Lee explained. "It's a combination of the best of what the online and physical worlds can offer." The website offers a treasure of electronic resources and tools for e-business, ranging from an archive of online videotaped seminars, links to research centres and websites worldwide, a large number of research reports and 203 case studies on e-business culled from both the Department itself and the public domain. Collaboration tools also abound. Members can exchange documents and solicit feedback online through the Club. Most importantly, there are 50 forums, where asynchronous discussions are moderated by staff of the Department designated as "knowledge managers". Offline, the Club also organizes dinner talks, once every one or two months, featuring prominent academic and business leaders on e-commerce. "It's great time for members to rub shoulders and do some networking," said Professor Lee.

Sign up for membership: www.club-ebiz.com

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