IBM and outsourcing supplier CommerceQuest have promised to provide connectivity and integration services to 65 business-to-business (B2B) trading communities by the end of the year.
CommerceQuest has acquired two IBM S/390 mainframes to provide IT support for an initial group of five online markets including ICG Commerce, AviEx, e-Chemicals, PlasticsNet and UIP. The partners plan to supply services to a further 60 sites by the end of 2000.
Although the trading portals will continue to run their own applications software, CommerceQuest will provide services such as connectivity, integration and IT operations.
CommerceQuest chairman Colin Osborne said: "Electronic market makers are more interested in the commercial success of their B2B markets rather than being admin farms."
He warned that the systems behind many of the online trading sites being launched today could soon run out of capacity unless they introduced mainframes to host their services. Suppliers are launching their offerings on to the market without considering whether such systems are capable of handling the promised growth in the B2B market, said Osborne.
"Early market makers use point-to-point connections and that is okay if there are 10 buyers and sellers, but if there are hundreds of thousands it is impossible," he added.
IBM predicts that the worldwide B2B ecommerce market will be worth between $2.7tn and $7.3tn by 2004.
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