What is the Internet

The Internet, commonly referred to as 'the Net', takes its name from INTERnational NETwork and encompasses a range of services including, the World Wide Web, e-mail and newagroups.

Arguably the most independent, accessible and truly global means of communication, it has quickly been assimilated into the everyday business environment and now allows companies of whatever size and nature, to compete more effectively both locally, nationally and internationally.

Through the Net, companies have access to a powerful promotion tool and a means of improved service, which leads to an expansion of customer databases, reduced overheads and, ultimately, increased profits.

The Net can become an invaluable part of any company and in some cases entire businesses are dependent on it.

For others it can simply be a social tool, enabling people to plan holidays, buy gifts and stay in touch with distant relatives.

To others it remains a complete mystery, appearing on a 'list of things to find out about'. Few, however, would now argue that it can be ignored.

Golden opportunities
People have been quick to realise that the Net, originally intended to protect top secret US military information, could be just as easily employed to sell flowers or make new friends.

Today, in the UK alone, around 1.2 million people look for a new job on the Net, while 1.9 million can be found reading an on-line newspaper.

As a result, with customers and suppliers coming on-line at an estimated rate of 11,000 new adult users in the UK every day, businesses are turning to the Net at a similarly rapid rate; opening up new opportunities and making their organisations more cost and time efficient.

E-commerce and e-business are just two ways a company can use the Net to augment business activity.

E-commerce is easily defined as the process of selling products or services directly over the Net.

On-line bookstore Amazon, www.amazon.com, was one of the first exponents of e-commerce on a large scale, with just a website and warehouse and, therefore, none of the associated overheads of a high street bookshop.

E-business, in essence, refers to the use of Internet technology to aid and improve business communications and performance.

In other words, any business which distributes information among its employees or to other companies and customers, can make this process quicker and more efficient, as well as reducing paper, print and postage costs, simply by using e-mail or a website.

Whatever your business and whatever your knowledge of the Internet, Sage will help you take the right steps to make sure your business profits from these opportunities.

Can you really afford to be left behind? www.nope.co.uk