It's not business as usual
Search the World Wide Web for academic resources related to electronic business-eBusiness-and it soon becomes apparent: The University of Texas at Arlington is among the elite top five and quite possibly the leader.
UTA was one of the first universities in the nation to craft an interdisciplinary eBusiness learning environment. Check out: http://www2.uta.edu/ecomm for the world's most extensive academic Web site on the subject. The glossary of terms and definitions includes more than 3,000 items.
Every business manager on the planet knows the Web's importance to the future of commerce. But determining how to make the most of digital technology hasn't been that easy to nail down. Enter Mike Reimann, the primary architect of UTA's interdisciplinary eBusiness program-perhaps "digital society" would be a better term-which is being rapidly embraced by students and corporate America.
"Exciting new careers are emerging for individuals who have the capacity to be innovative, the power to think beyond experience, and the ability to work in diverse teams," Dr. Reimann said.
Students in these eBusiness courses can work toward certification in electronic commerce, electronic business, electronic enterprise or the catch-all digital society.
"Some students may be interested in implementing state-of-the-art Web sites," Dr. Reimann noted. "Others may seek digital solutions in government, business or commercial arenas, while still others may be more interested in industrial or engineering environments."
For the most part, Dr. Reimann is talking about the heralded "paperless" classroom. Too, there's emphasis on actual team internships-groups of three or four students-with real companies eager to make maximum use of the Internet.
Bank of America, Amresco, Brightstar, Cap Gemini America, Complete Business Solutions, CompuCom, Frito-Lay and Sabre all have been quick to sign up as incubators for eBusiness intern teams, but none has topped the fervor of Bell Helicopter Textron.
Intern eBusiness teams from UTA have helped Bell design a general-access Web site, a site for assembly-line proprietary information and another site for the company's used helicopter sales program.
"We're a traditional company trying very hard to reinvent and rethink ourselves-our business, our services and how we go to our customers," said Ian Walsh, Bell's director of world marketing.
"What's great about our relationship with UTA is that we get a higher level of understanding and training through somebody like Dr. Reimann, who also knows how other companies are leveraging the Web. Right away the UTA eBusiness student intern team came in and developed what is now a full-blown strategy to revamp our Web site."
One member of that first intern team was Jonathan Scott, since graduated with a degree in information systems. Scott recalls struggling two years ago with possibilities when he finally decided to join his intern peers at the helicopter maker.
"Like a lot of students, I was financially challenged at the time and had an offer of a part-time paid job or the Bell internship for credit but no pay," he said. Scott took a night job on a loading dock to be a pioneer in Bell's eBusiness efforts.
The sacrifice paid off. He's now eBusiness project manager for Bell, designing a Web site that will become the main access for the aerospace company's many suppliers.
"I consider the decision to be on the eBusiness intern team to be the most important I've ever made," he said.
As the program advances, Dr. Reimann won't be surprised to hear more stories like Scott's.
In the meantime, eBusiness at UTA continues to expand with a variety of groundbreaking "next generation solution" symposiums. The next will be the eBusiness Executive Summit 2001 this fall at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, hosted jointly by the UTA/Fort Worth Riverbend Campus, the College of Business Administration and the College of Engineering.