Federal IT Dept Pilots B2B E-Procurement Hub

The Department of Communications, IT and the Arts will pilot an e-procurement hub over the next two months to test the feasability of moving purchasing transactions online.

The trial is part of the federal government's Commonwealth Electronic Procurement Implementation Strategy, which aims to conduct 90 per cent of simple buy-side transactions online by the end of 2001.

B2B e-trading solutions provider Online Advantage will implement the electronic exchange. The solution is the only e-procurement hub the department is testing, company sources said.

UK e-commerce software developer Infobank International's InTrade e-Hub B2B technology will power the exchange. Infobank's solution lets users create specific buyer and supplier online trading communities to reduce purchasing and suppyling costs. InTrade also supports open standards, enabling interoperability between buyers, service providers and suppliers, said Sharon Baldwin, business development manager for Online Advantage.

Baldwin said the hub would not only eliminate basic manual procurement procedures but would "offer agencies more support, great accountability and improved statistical information".

The first supplier signed for the six-week trial is office product supplier Blue Star Business Supplies Group. Another five suppliers will be considered for the pilot.

Outcomes will be reviewed and an implementation decision made in early 2001.

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