Electronic commerce will be the driving force for European Extranet growth, with Scandinavian businesses leading the market.
According to ?Moving Business Online?, a report by the Gartner Group, 40 per cent of all electronic commerce in Europe will be made over Extranets within a few years - giving traditional electronic data interchange (EDI) a run for its money.
Although company directors have low level awareness of Intranets, Extranets will be popular because they will enable firms to link with more organisations, instead of just those that can afford EDI, remarked Andrew Sadler-Smith, UK managing director of Novell, which commissioned the research.
?By 2000, 40 per cent of large organisations in Europe will use Extranets to link with business partners,? he said.
He cited several examples of Extranet users including a #640 million car company which saved #2 million a year on building an Extranet for its dealer network. EDS saw the cost of each electronic commerce transaction drop to 25 cents using its Extranet, compared with $25 using traditional EDI.
Security and culture differences were cited by European businesses as barriers to implementing Extranets.
According to an executive at a UK telco: ?The chief barrier we faced when we implemented our Extranet was overcoming the mindset of potential users. Despite having run a successful Intranet since 1994, there was still a degree of scepticism as to why the Extranet was needed - until people realised they could get immediately updated corporate information at any time of day or night.?
The report also notes Scandinavia as being particular enthusiastic for Extranets because of its advanced Internet infrastructure.
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