The creation of a dynamic network economy where organisations buy, sell and trade in open digital markets is fast becoming a reality as online business communities begin to take shape.
In line with moves by technology-savvy companies to create their own online markets for their industry's supply chain, iPlanet last week launched Market Maker, designed to enable groups to create and participate in open digital markets, the next platform of e-commerce.
Describing a world of realtime trading exchanges to cover every aspect of an organisation's activities, senior vice president of e-commerce products at iPlanet Dr Stuart Wells said trading in the network economy will be the equivalent of the Nasdaq trading floor online.
In a digital market buyers and suppliers can readily access information, form communities to share that information and conduct commerce in a safe and fast-moving environment where trading is immediate and far more efficient, Wells said.
"In the new open digital marketplace, enterprise productivity soars because a company can offer all its e-commerce services through a single online location," he said.
"Current digital marketplaces have limitations as they are plagued by limited access to small buyers and sellers and cannot connect with other marketplaces making them islands.
Wells said enterprises are moving their trading communities (suppliers, partners and other businesses with whom they exchange goods) online which connects them to a host of business markets.
"For example, a single company will be linked to a range of interconnected communities whether they are financial, consumer goods or other industries, and participants in these communities will be competing for your business.
"Market Maker enables connection with other marketplaces regardlesss of technology differences."
Wells said Market Maker has out of the box platforms for catalogue aggregation, pricing, negotiations, auctions, order management and portal services.
"The most exciting aspect of open digital markeplaces is it lets all types and sizes of buyers, suppliers, and market operators to come together," he said.
"For buyers it will lower overall transaction costs and for the seller it offers additional sales channels and revenue opportunities at reduced cost."
Market Maker enables organisations to host their own digital market to draw maximum benefit from trading opportunities, a trend being led by US car makers.
In the US, the National Association of Convenience Stores is building an exchange that can be accessed by all of its 119,000 members.
Wells said interest in the open digital market is particularly high in the Asia- Pacific with demand for e-commerce products from major enterprises exceeding iPlanet targets.
Market Maker which is built on a standard-based Java 2 (J2EE) platform will be available in Australia in September (www.iplanet.com).
* Sandra Van Dijk travelled to the presentation as a guest of iPlanet