Fewer than 20 per cent of UK manufacturers have a formal ebusiness strategy and 37 per cent only carry out e-transactions on an ad hoc basis, according to a survey of 18,000 UK companies.
"Collaborative product commerce (CPC) that enables end-to-end ebusiness is the next growth area in the manufacturing arena. Companies can improve the supply chain and make huge savings," said Guy Washer, managing director of Benchmark Research, which conducted the Microsoft sponsored study.
The benefits of the technology will include improved internal communications, and improved customer and supplier collaboration leading to more efficient procurement and fulfilment.
Benchmark Research cited the major benefits of customer collaboration as the greater sharing of scheduling data and more effective after sales services.
It also said that the advantages of collaboration with suppliers include the reduction of order transaction costs and the visibility of stock levels.
Research from Deloitte Touche found that CPC can generate cost savings of up to 70 per cent.
"Most manufactures are involved with the design of products but, if they are linked via collaboration software to their sales and marketing departments and they talk to each other, costs can be cut by up to 70 per cent," said Paul Burgam, manufacturing industry manager at Microsoft.
But cost, lack of in-house skills, security, a lack of standards and the ability to qualify the benefits, were cited by respondents as significant barriers for future ebusiness investment.
The research showed that, as a result of these barriers, 76 per cent of companies have no plans to join the e-trading community.
According to Washer, the current slowdown in IT spending has meant that directors and finance departments are having an increasing influence on ebusiness strategies. As a result a measurable return on investment is essential if these systems are to be taken up.
This change at the decision making level could prove problematic as 77 per cent of the study's respondents currently using an e-marketplace said they could not show a return on investment.
US space agency believes the crater could have preserved ancient organic molecules from the water that flowed there billions of years ago
Valve quietly closes down hardware initiatives launched following Windows 8
Scientists create a virtual reality simulation of a black hole sitting at the centre of the Milky Way
Simulations like this can help people understand complicated systems in the universe in a better way
The most luminous galaxy ever discovered is cannibalising at least three of its smaller neighbours, study finds
The galaxy radiates at 350 trillion times the luminosity of the Sun