B2B initiatives cannot be ignored - Data Pro
The digital economy, and buying and selling online, is becoming an intrinsic part of everyday life - including for businesses - with 64 out of 100 business executives surveyed revealing that their companies have already established an on-line marketplace, either on their own or through partnerships.
While this survey, conducted by Aurther Anderson, covered just over 100 executives at large and mid-size companies in the USA, Douglas Reed, MD of leading Internet Service Provider (ISP) and network integrator, Data Pro, believes it is a "sign of things to come in SA".
"We might be lagging US trends. But what happens there ultimately happens here. With e-business this delay may be less because very few companies can afford to risk economic isolation by not adopting an e-business strategy to become part of the new digital economy - and part of the new global village."
Not only are an increasing number of companies devising online strategies, including business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce ventures, but one out of three executives surveyed see digital marketplaces as crucial to their overall business-to-business strategy - especially among retailers purchasing wholesale goods.
"So far, one of the main advantages of the Internet is corporate purchasing," said Reed, "which is seen by 50% of US executives polled as a means of staying competitive in the short term. Recent research also shows that almost 66% of companies now purchase from digital marketplaces, while this figure was less than 50% a scant six months ago."
Reed said e-procurement is tagged as one of the main immediate benefits garnered from embracing the Internet and e-business strategies. "The B2B marketplace just cannot be ignored. By harnessing the Internet, efficiencies can be vastly increased, as well as providing a significant cut in company overheads.
One of the biggest fears, however, remains a reluctance to commit the kind of money that is required to adopt these e-business strategies, including e-procurement initiatives. "Not enough companies look beyond the capital investment and see the massive benefits that can be derived. Speed, containment of time-intensive activities, and greatly enhanced customer service - as well as finger-tip control over enterprise operations - are just a few of the advantages of B2B initiatives," said Reed. "Performance and turnaround times are going to be critical factors in the new economy."