The growing importance of Electronic Business (E-Business) to a company’s growth, development and survival cannot be ignored in light of the current dynamism of the technological environment. Advances in technology have opened up a new world informed by the advent of computers, improvements in communications technologies and the emergence of the Internet. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) has introduced new means of buying goods and services, changed established distribution channels and opened new markets not hitherto conceived. E-business is the conduct of business transactions on-line. Its main advantage is the fact that it is not constrained by time nor physical facilities. Business can be conducted anytime, any day. While the phrase "electronic commerce" is now in mainstream use, it is one of those elusive terms whose definition seems to vary depending upon who you ask. eCommerce used to be synonymous with using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the standard format to automate monetary transactions. This format is typically used by large corporations engaged in millions of transactions per year, but has yet to enter into mainstream use.
Today the term eCommerce has been expanded to include other business processes that can now be enhanced electronically. Some example definitions include:
"A set of strategies, processes, tools and supporting infrastructure to transact business electronically" Ed Edwards, The Boeing Company
"Building and sustaining business relationships with customers electronically." Patricia Seybold, The Patricia Seybold Group
The most easily measured benefit from eBusiness is the cost savings associated with allowing customers to serve themselves.
One tool that is critical to e-business is that of a company’s website. It allows a company to showcase its products digitally to the globe. As part of the Registrar General's Department’s strategic mission its website was re-launched in July 2006. This has since resulted in a phenomenal growth in on-line business for the Agency. In less than one year the website has made significant strides and has progressed to the top three most popular website in Government of Jamaica. In fact on May 10, 2007 it was ranked number one ahead of the Bank of Jamaica and Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO). It has received 5-star ranking and is placed in the top one percentile of the world’s fastest websites. According to www.statbrain.com (a web-monitoring tool), the RGD’s website records an average of 34,200 visitors each working week. In addition approximately 85% of these visitors come from Jamaica. This is indicative of the popularity of the site among Jamaicans. Data gleaned from www.alexa.com, another web trafficking tool, indicate that visitors to the site are spending a longer time.
The website is currently ranked in the top 500 most popular websites visited by Jamaicans on a daily basis competing with major non-governmental sites such as Digicel, Jamaica Gleaner and the Daily Observer as well as large international sites such as Myspace and Youtube.
The agency’s website boasts an interactive Forum where in stakeholders can have a number of queries resolved. In addition it has secure on-line payment facilities which serve as a viable alternative for customers. Many positive reviews have been received from satisfied customers.
Applications for birth, death and marriage certificates can be completed and submitted electronically via the Agency’s website. Only 1% of visitors visit the applications page. In addition to the other services offered; customers wishing to access the agency’s Genealogical Research and Registry Wedding services may submit requests on-line. Customers wishing to bring the RGD to them can book appointments with the Mobile Team on-line.
The site boasts an interactive map of Jamaica. Visitors may navigate easily to find the nearest RGD office or Local District Registrar. By selecting a parish a list of LDRs and Regional Office serving that geographical area is accessible.
Submitted by: Jeremy Chambers B.B.A., F.Cim E-Business Officer, Registrar General's Department