More hype than heat in e-commerce market: Meta

Many enterprises lack effective e-commerce strategies and are still in the early stages of e-business deployment, according to US research by Meta Group.

Meta claims e-business deployment amongst users is still very much in "wait and see" mode despite the hype surrounding Web-enabled enterprises.

"E-business has not yet become part of a larger corporate culture and strategy," said Kirk Reiss (Krik Reiss), senior vice president of Meta Group Consulting.

"The low dollar investment in e-business is indicative of stopgap measures and patch-up thinking - a 'me-too' strategy, where companies are doing e-business because they see that other companies in their industry are."

For Hemant Kogekar, IT director for Franklins, the "wait and see" approach has been the best way to approach business-to-consumer e-commerce.

Franklins is part of a larger international organisation, Dairy Farmers, which has several retail organisations in the Asia Pacific region already conducting business-to-consumer, home shopping initiatives, Kogekar said.

"We [Franklins] have decided to learn from their experiences. We are not actually doing it ourselves," he said.

However, on the business-to-business side things are a little different for Franklins.

Kogekar admitted Franklins was still in the early stages of business-to business e-commerce.

"We have started some work with our selected suppliers on electronic ordering. We have just concluded a pilot and are progressively rolling it out," he said.

While the initiative only involves 10-20 suppliers at this stage, Kogekar believes there is the potential for several thousand suppliers to be involved.

Despite working on e-commerce development for the last 12 months, Kogekar believes Franklins' investment to date has not been huge.

"We're taking it progressively," he said.

Kogekar said educating suppliers and convincing them of the benefits of e-commerce has been one of the hardest aspects of the project.

"Educating suppliers seems to be a bigger part of effort than the technology. This is the reason it as taken so long [to adopt]," he said.

For Franklins and the retail industry, Kogekar believes delivering to the customer will be the biggest hurdle of e-commerce.

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