Home > Articles > Information Technology

Exploring How the Year Is Shaping Up in Sell-side E-Commerce

  • Print
  • + Share This
This article profiles how exchanges are revolutionizing how the way companies serve customers, and how sell-side needs in companies are driving the development of these exchanges.
Louis Columbus is the author of more than 40 articles and a dozen books on the Internet, e-commerce, and computing topics. His latest book is Realizing e-Business with Application Service Providers (Sams, 2000, ISBN 0-67232-053-3).

The dominance of the sell-side of e-commerce is quantified in a recent survey of CIOs in the Global 2,500, which recorded their intentions for spending as they go into 2001's uncertain economic climate. Fully eight out of 10 mentioned that the ability to stay connected with their customers and build stronger relationships with them would continue as a top priority, despite economic uncertainty in certain economic sectors. What's most interesting about the resilience of the sell-side applications and platforms that are being developed are their focus on delivering measurable, value-increased levels of customer satisfaction, and ultimately a stronger ROI to the company choosing to commit to a sell-side strategy. The fact that only half of the Global 2,500 actually complete an ROI analysis of the sell-side software investments they make shows that often the anecdotal analysis is often all companies have time for, despite ROI analysis being the most important use of their time.

The capricious nature of the stock market, surprise earnings warnings throughout Q1 of 2001, the Federal Reserve's restraint in dropping interest rates, and the testing of marginal business models due to softening economic times all point to a tough year ahead. The most relevant question to ask is what the sell-side of e-business will look like throughout the year because this area of electronic commerce is already showing signs of being the enabler of exchanges and e-marketplaces for the future. Presented here are the key trends that will mark 2001—specific to the sell-side of the e-business initiative landscape.

What to Look for in 2001

What's the true trend of the market in 2001? It's clearly away from compartmentalizing and even segmenting sell-side and e-procurement between themselves. It's more about encompassing the customer with value on their sell-side and purchasing side. The unification of sell-side and e-procurement is now in full swing, and will come to full fruition by the end of the year. In planning your e-commerce direction, consider these emerging developments in the sell-side that will come to fruition during the coming year:

  • The ASP Model is becoming a distribution model over a business model. The hype over the ASP model as the panacea for potential profitability is now over, and the approach to the delivery of applications using the functionality of application provisioning is now in full swing within the Global 2,500 community. What started as an approach to drive the costs out of software delivery is now seen as a convenient and controllable approach to delivering applications internally. This trend will continue as many software companies adopt both licensing and ASP delivery models as delivery strategies.

  • Greater depth to partner technologies. As Ariba resets its own expectations about partnerships and scrambles to keep the Value Chain Management initiative alive after losing the Agile acquisition, the e-procurement company will change the role of partner technologies dramatically during the coming year. Commerce One's current focus extending past round-trip will revolutionize the approach many vendors take with regard to partner technologies. This continues to show the evolution of partner technologies to the next generation, which will drive the sell-side more than ever.

  • Customer Relationship Management: It's in the team, not in the technology. Clearly, if the economic downturn is teaching anyone anything about technology, it's that the technology itself had better be meeting needs or else it will be gone quickly. Tom Siebel's comments that 90% of the B2B companies will be gone in two years or less are really just stating the truth. Unless a technology can deliver on its promises and not overcommit to just get customers and then risk losing them, that technology will not last in the heat of competition that is very hot right now in the market. Only companies that deliver applications that do what they say they can do and more will survive.

This is what makes the role of CRM so interesting in light of the current economic climate. The potential for CRM to increase sales and lower revenues has been seriously hurt by the overcommitments of the largest vendors in this space and the lack of execution of Sales Force Automation (SFA) vendors as well. For CRM to realize its true potential in the context of a private exchange, there has to be a focus on process performance increases that center on customer satisfaction. What's daunting for companies today is that they want to make the decision to go with CRM, yet have trouble associating a specific ROI with the investment. That is understandable because there are not many good metrics around that truly illustrate customer satisfaction. The companies that are jumping into a CRM application in conjunction with their exchange strategy are finding rewards, and those center squarely on the retention of customers through enhanced and more accurate communication from all touchpoints within a corporation. The fact that people are buying from each other on exchanges is secondary to the depth of commitments that are being made via e-mail, phone, in-person visits, and conferences that were facilitated by CRM applications that were part of the exchange in the first place.

  • Partner Relationship Management becomes real. The dominance of Siebel Systems in the CRM and PRM arenas will become more integrated with order management and other industrial-strength applications than have ever been accomplished before. Companies that have focused on the more difficult aspects of warranty, market development funds handling and management, and channel management will gain significant traction during the year. Hundreds of companies also turn to PRM for the answer to their specific channel communication pain points, with the opportunity to unify a channel through aggressive developments of online sales tools being the best possible approach to handling the development and maintenance of relationships in the channel. The clear focus of companies going forward is to get greater visibility into the financial metrics in the channel, and take action to generate greater profitability and customer satisfaction than was ever possible before. That's the promise of the PRM arena in the context of exchanged-based strategies. Like any other application areas that are included in an exchange, the opportunity to share data between partners on emerging opportunities by tying databases together adds an element of responsiveness that cannot be accomplished when applications each exist on their own, in a relative vacuum from one another.

  • Analytics are made for exchanges. The promise of analytics and the increased insights they can provide has been trumpeted now for years, with only a few of the Global 2,500 making strong progress for fulfilling expectations. One of the key impediments of analytics being pervasively used is the fact that they have not necessarily contributed to the growth in customer satisfaction that all companies crave, and it is one of the driving reasons why the Global 2,00 get into e-business initiatives in the first place. What's interesting about exchanges is that the role of analytics is making companies more responsive to customers. The fact that exchanges have the potential of generating higher levels of customer responsiveness and therefore driving customer retention—the strongest metric of all for any corporation—is what will make the difference in the development and use of exchanges. The metrics of responsiveness is in the end all that matter when it comes to getting an exchange off the ground. Clearly, the new focus on metrics is driving the continued development of partnerships between the many vendors who have business analytics as their primary focus—including SPSS, SAS, Cognos, E.piphany, Brio, and others. This centrism on metrics is really making this year one that will be most recognized for its adoption of analytics as a unifying technology between sell-side and e-procurement.

  • Multiexchange models become more visible. Increasingly, the Global 2,500 are including several private exchanges into their plans for integrating international systems that are today disparate and have data that is not consistent with the rest of the organization. Dell's approach to exchanges is very successful on several fronts, thanks mainly to the scalability of its data models and metrics when it was a fraction of the size it is today. Clearly, CIO Randy Mott is doing an excellent job of unifying these systems, as he did for many years at Wal-Mart. One of the more fascinating areas of growth for Dell with a multiexchange model is in its development of Premier Pages for its customers. A Premier Page Web site is actually a comprehensive series of tools for managing all touch points back to Dell from the customer's perspective. Dell pioneered and perfected this approach to serving customers by creating a unified single face to the customer that is very much a competitive advantage for companies trying to penetrate the global accounts in which Dell already has a presence.

  • IBM Asserts itself and begins shopping. During any given week this year, there is evidence of companies with cash acquiring others who virtually have their handful of key employees, intellectual properties, and the most valuable asset of all: customers. OnDemand's acquisition of North Systems, Question Technologies' acquisition of Carbon Software, i2's acquisition of RightWorks, and the attempted acquisition of Agile by Ariba all point to a rapid consolidation with e-procurement vendors. Clearly, IBM could move to acquire Ariba and integrate applications into many different existing products; even serve the Ariba customer base through IBM Global Services.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020