Y2K and GST lay the way for B2B

The impact of Y2K and GST on organisations' IT infrastructure has set them up for the move towards B2B-enabling technologies.

Ian Grundy, CIO of West Australian Newspapers, said the effects of Y2K and GST have been "profound". "They gave organisations the chance to set up their infrastructure, assess procedures and make their processes more efficient."

Grundy said these efficiencies, combined with reduced hype about the online arena, had alerted many companies to the practical benefits of collaborative commerce.

"The by-product is that companies can [now see the advantages of B2B in that they could be] communicating more easily with like companies."

Deloitte Consulting said that according to its report, "Collaborative Commerce: Going Private to get Results", Asia-Pacific businesses are moving towards collaborative commerce, with a preference for private exchanges.

Of the 356 companies in Deloitte's survey, 167 of which were from Asia-Pacific, two-thirds said collaborative commerce would be "important" or "very important" by early 2002.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents also said the current economic downturn had accelerated the importance of collaborative commerce to their business. Grundy said that a combination of the after-effects of Y2K and the current economic climate has expedited B2B progress.

Phil Darling, Deloitte Consulting's supply chain director, said the survey picked up Asia-Pacific organisations' preference for private exchanges.

"A year ago, public exchanges were popular as they are simple to set up. However, suppliers were not too keen. When companies set up a private exchange, simpler relationships are in place, there are different benefits and there's a quicker response to demand," Darling said.

Grundy agreed that there is increased interest in private exchanges, but considers the move is really about "organisations driving cost efficiencies".

"I think the interest in private exchanges is that several organisations in an industry segment could use an exchange to leverage off one another while driving efficiencies in the procurement process."

The survey also found that regional businesses were optimistic about their potential return on investment (ROI). Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said they expected to more than double their ROI.

Grundy was unconvinced about this figure, but conceded that "it is easier to identify the cost savings when transacting online".

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