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Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: Electronic Commerce, once thought of as futuristic buzzwords, is becoming a commonly used term. International newspapers, magazines, and the electronic media mention at least some forecast or news related to this subject on a daily basis. Nevertheless, a look at the growing numbers of consulting companies, that offer a variety of services relating to Electronic Commerce reveals the immense uncertainty companies are experiencing about what exactly Electronic Commerce is, and how they can implement it. While it seems that the importance of this issue in the business environment is widely accepted in the US, a recent study from Andersen Consulting (Andersen, 1998) shows that among European senior executives only 19% regard Electronic Commerce as a serious competitive threat to their business. Furthermore, only 39% are taking steps today to incorporate Electronic Commerce into their current operational strategies. There is a number of factors contributing to the "wait-and-see" attitude taken by executives and consumers as well. Executives tend to view the rise of Electronic Commerce as an external business environment issue, while consumers are concerned about security issues. These are still common views in the US. In European countries, a cultural problem stemming from a slowly changing and stable business environment adds to that problem. Fear of failing by trying a new approach, in most cases, overshadows the willingness to take new risks. Nevertheless, the uncertainty about the changes implied by Electronic Commerce are far-reaching and can be found in any country. With the increasing importance of the Internet, the business environment, as well as other areas in society, is about to fundamentally change. Old paradigms are no longer working in the evolving new business world, sometimes called digital economy. Electronic Commerce is the keyword that tries to capture the new paradigms which are not even clear yet. The only thing that is reliable and predictable about Electronic Commerce and the new economy, is change. Never before was it more important to be flexible and willing to take risks by trying new approaches. As businesses like to operate in a predictable environment where planning the future is easy, it becomes very difficult to adapt to the pace of change. Not only do businesses need new strategies, they also need to constantly reinvent themselves. Businesses need to realize, that it becomes necessary to accept [...]