Before You Become Part of a B2B Community, Understand Who’s Calling the Shots, IDC Advises

FRAMINGHAM, MASS – SEPTEMBER 18, 2000 — The key to making sound business and investment decisions when deciding which business-to-business (B2B) communities to join is to understand who has ultimate control over the site. This is the message of a recent bulletin from IDC titled Know Thy Market Maker: Picking the Right B2B Option for Your Business.

"The challenge for business executives in the coming years will be to participate in sites across the B2B spectrum that encourage active cooperation and trading and don't just provide improved efficiencies in someone else's distribution system or supply chain," said Richard Villars, vice president of IDC's Internet and eCommerce Strategies research.

According to IDC, many of today's emarketplaces and industry supply chain exchanges lack any promise of ongoing benefits to the buyers or suppliers on the other end of the connection. Only the largest customers and essential suppliers have any sort of say in the community. Everyone else is forced to play by the host company's rules or do business elsewhere.

"These excessively one-sided B2B solutions do not have a bright future," Villars said.

Instead, IDC believes the future is in B2B sites that function as trading and community centers for all participants. In addition to supporting order placing and taking, these sites provide businesses throughout the supply chain with community-building services, including information on products and markets, collaboration with other industry players, and payment systems that make it easier for small players to participate.

"These trading communities deliver direct benefits to all participants, not just a chosen few," Villars said.

According to IDC, buyers using the systems to tighten their supply chain will be willing to trade straight margin for reliability, performance, and predictability. Suppliers looking to retain customers should have cutting-edge customer service on their site, personalization/customization, and community services.

Information like the above comes from IDC's new bulletin Know Thy Market Maker: Picking the Right B2B Option for Your Business (IDC #B22830). The bulletin explains how business executives can position themselves to gain the greatest benefits from business-to-business ecommerce. To purchase the report, contact Demetra Georgakopoulos at 1-800-343-4952 extension 4496 or demetra@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 600 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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