Technological advancement and the introduction of computer-driven technologies in the business landscape have influenced how business is managed today. Computer-driven technologies are making it possible to turn out small runs of increasingly customized goods aimed at niche markets. Smart companies are moving from the production of long runs of commodity products to short runs of "higher value added" products (Toffler,1990,p.52).
Financial markets are not spared from the upheaval. World capital markets throughout the globe are now interlinked via satellite, networks and technology. Globalization has linked formerly independent economies. When a cataclysm occurs within a globally linked financial system, the entire global market feels the ripples of the event. Businesses are no longer isolated entities that operate autonomously.
Business environments are changing rapidly because of several factors. These changes make it difficult for companies to meet the challenge while using traditional business models. Barabba (1998,pp.34-59) attributes these three phenomena as factors of change:
2. Communications technologies improve and enable businesses to acquire deep and broad external knowledge of markets, allowing them "to better sense changes in customer requirements." These technologies will also allow companies "to Innovatively serve those markets."; and
3. "Technology is redefining the nature of competition."
Murphy (1998) describes "a new business model or paradigm that he calls alternatively" an "internetworked (virtual) enterprise" or "extended enterprise." These new enterprises "encompass channel partners, remote workers, suppliers, distributors, and consumers through a secure Web-based global network." (ij and Saarinen,2001). Infrastructure to support this new development is provided by the Internet. The Internet allows companies to become decentralized and operate within the digital environment. To make this model work, this type of business organization must link all business functions (supply, purchasing, manufacturing, operations, transportation, financing, accounting, personnel, sales, and customer service), "all stakeholders (business partners, suppliers, service and technology providers, distributors, retailers, outsourcing partners, remote workers, and customers, competitors, financiers, and regulators), and all organizational capabilities (information system, self-regulating and self-organizing organizational structure, and reinvented virtual supply chain)" (ij and Saarinen, 2001). This is to create a holistic business approach in the digital milieu. The new business paradigm created by three new classes of business model -