ASX's e.m service gets upgrade

The Australian Stock Exchange's (ASX) Internet-based, alternative capital market venture has been given a boost following a Web site upgrade.

Almost a year old, the $5 million e.m (Enterprise Market) service was originally designed to act as a conduit between SMEs (small to medium enterprises) and providers of equity capital.

Following the upgrade, e.m's role as an online capital-raiser will include several 'intuitive' functions that are designed to link subscribers with relevant corporate information, including e-mail bulletin boards and regular information updates to potential investors.

"It really is part of getting a flow of information. Our belief is that its information about what's happening in the market that generates interest and gets investors interested in putting money into business," said Barry Westlake, Enterprise Market's national manager. "This [upgrade] is all part of creating the enterprise market in such a way that one, there's information there, but two, there's a way of the system looking at the information and telling investors when there's something that's important to them, rather than just having to sit there and browse."

Along with taking the e.m service to "the next logical phase", Westlake said performance considerations also played a role in its decision to upgrade the Web site. The organisation undertook a round of customer research last year, he said, which uncovered some minor service shortcomings.

"What we found when we did some major market research in August last year was that people thought the site in general was going in the right direction. They made some comments that some things were a bit hard to use or a bit slow, so we've attended to those."

Westlake said many of these performance problems have been alleviated by moving the e.m page to a separate server from the ASX's own Web site, which is often heavily populated.

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