Auckland University of Technology believes e-business has a lifespan of three years before it becomes mainstream.
To help New Zealand get there, AUT is appointing the country's first chair of e-business and introducing e-business studies to its four-year bachelor of business.
Business faculty dean Des Graydon says business will always have specialist "e" areas like electronic communication and marketing but within a few years it will be integrated into general business thinking, he believes.
"We are in a transition phase of moving into an e-business environment, which is really to do with communication, technologies and their commercial applications," he says.
AUT's e-business chair, the first in the country, will be a professorial role. The holder will be from a business background and will lead research and teaching of e-business at AUT within the Faculty of Business. There will be no separate e-business department.
The two-year post will be funded by a $200,000 50/50 partnership between AUT and Microsoft. After then, AUT hopes the e-business chair will be able to secure funding through the appointee's own IT and business background and connections.
Graydon also says the e-business chair will also raise public awareness of e-business through seminars and public presentations. "The e-business programme will be multi-disciplinary. Students will learn to integrate IT and business perspectives, developing a deep understanding of the IT infrastructure and financial, legal, marketing and strategic issues in e-business," he says.
Microsoft New Zealand managing director Geoff Lawrie says Kiwi firms need to look at shifting into e-business to compete globally and the chair will help produce the graduates to make this possible.
Associate Education Minister Steve Maharey says following last week's e-commerce summit it is good to see AUT and Microsoft working together to give students the right skills to move New Zealand businesses forward.
"As a nation, we must be prepared to be quick to act especially in the area of technology education so that all New Zealanders can benefit from the new economy," he says.
Advertising for the post begins this week, with close of applications in December, for an appointment early in the New Year.