Can communicate with each other through the web or

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can communicate with each other through the web or telephone and use the network to share documents and other information through an electronic bulletin board or use presentation software just as in a face-to-face meeting. Data Communications for E-Commerce Another common business use of networks is for data communi- cations. The standard format for transmitting business data (e.g., price, part number) is electronic data interchange (EDI). This technology can facilitate commerce not only across the coun- try but across the globe. EDI helps facilitate the data exchange necessary for international commerce, and reduce the cost of global commerce by reducing the cost of the associated paper- work, which can add up to 7 percent to the value of the items being traded. Similarly, electronic funds transfer can be used to move money over a communications network. Electronic funds transfer facilitates international business transactions, and also affects consumers on a local level. For example, the worldwide PLUS ATM network can be accessed by over one billion credit and debit cards. These transactions are settled electronically by the transfer of funds between the user and the issuer of the card. Electronic funds transfer can also be used to deposit payroll checks, government support checks, and other deposits without the need to physically handle the currency. Electronic funds transfer has enabled another use of networks for businesses: electronic commerce (e-commerce), the con- ducting of business (e.g., sales, information exchange) over the Internet. For example, many businesses today have electronic storefronts supported by network technologies. These electronic storefronts may be in addition to or in place of brick-and-mor- tar point-of-sale locations. In electronic commerce, customers visit a business's web site on the Internet and examine the online catalog, compare products, fill an electronic shopping cart, and check out and pay for their purchases in much the same way as if they were in a physical store. Network technology also facili- tates electronic markets, or a collection of individual shops that can be accessed through a single location on the Internet that are the virtual equivalent of shopping malls. Through the use of e-commerce, businesses are able reach potential customers around the globe without setting up satellite operations in other locations. In addition, e-commerce can increase the speed at which business transactions take place, thereby helping not only the business's cash flow but also saving the customer time and (potentially) money because the business does not need to have a brick-and-mortar storefront. Example: Cisco Systems One example of an organization that has successfully incorpo - rated networking technology into its business model is Cisco Systems (Senn, 2004). Cisco emerged as a world leader in net- working technology, designing and selling networking hardware (e.g., routers, switches) and network management software to other enterprises for use in creating intranets and connect- ing to Internet. In part, Cisco's success has been attributed to
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