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Supply and demand alone does not control the flow of business when buyers and sellers are not connected. With all the myriad ways businesses use to reach their customers and partners with information about their products and Web services, and because global eCommerce participants have not yet agreed on one standard or backbone on which to communicate their services, finding and working with potential trading partners is severely limited.

Until now, there has been no central way to easily get information about what standards different companies support and no single point of access to all markets of opportunity, allowing them to easily connect with all possible target trading partners. Successful B2B eCommerce requires seamless access to information about trading partners and the ability to integrate with them.

This basic fundamental challenge is limiting the promise of business to business collaboration on the web, making it harder for buyers to get return on their eCommerce investment and for all B2B participants to easily add trading partners and services.

A supplier of ball bearings to large industrial customers—perhaps all of which are already online—can take its business to the Internet but not be able to transact with more than half of its current customer base because they're all using different applications and services to conduct Web-enabled business. Without major investments in technology infrastructure, the supplier may not be able to offer—even to its current customers—all the advantages of B2B eCommerce and may lose them to suppliers who can.

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