BT is set to share its extensive list of equipment and services suppliers with rivals and other businesses as it prepares to launch its Market Site ecommerce community.
The UK telecoms giant is hosting and piloting Market Site, which is believed to be the country?s largest ecommerce site for selling socalled indirect products and services such as furniture, stationery, travel services and computer equipment. The service is expected to go into full production in the third quarter of this year.
The aim is to enable businesses of all sizes to purchase goods from member suppliers of the Market Site scheme. BT will charge vendors a transaction fee based on purchase orders, while business customers will retain any existing contractural arrangements they have with participating companies.
High street retailer, Boots, is one of the first users of the scheme, and BT said it wanted to purchase 95 per cent of its indirect goods through Market Site.
The site is based on technology licensed from Commerce One, a US ecommerce specialist, which also has similar relationships with US and Japanese telcos, MCI Worldcom and NTT respectively, and according to Mike Micucci, Commerce One?s product manager, the goal is eventually to hook their Market Sites up with BT's.
"There have been large barriers to business to business commerce being adopted on a widescale. Using electronic data interchange (EDI) is one way, but it's trading between a few large players," he said. He added: "Market Sites are open trading communities between many vendors. We connect buyers to sellers over the Internet - it's just one connection to an ecommerce ready community. You don't have to have an EDI system."
To participate in the scheme, however, businesses need to fork out $500,000 for a 200 seat licence for Commerce One?s buyer access software. Alternatively, they can purchase procurement hosting services from operators such as BT or may have such functionality in their enterprise resource planning or existing ecommerce applications.
The software enables buyers to compare prices between vendors and manage their purchasing, invoicing and shipping procedures. All transactions are encrypted for security.
According to Forrester Research, the global market for business to business commerce will hit $1.5 trillion by 2003, with the UK trading around $12 billion worth of goods and services by 2001.
Source: VNU Newswire
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