Enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors selling generic software will be replaced by niche developers with targeted industry expertise, as organisations begin dealing with customers and suppliers via online collaborative commerce systems.
Coining the term collaborative commerce (c-commerce), analysts the Gartner Group said it is an extension of extranets and enables companies to do business with not only their regular customers and suppliers, but also new suppliers on an ad hoc basis.
There will be between six and 10 frameworks for specific industries such as automotive, financial services and consumer packaged goods. These frameworks will be served by suppliers with intimate knowledge of those markets and support relevant industry standards.
Gartner believes that c-commerce applications will replace Web enabled, but static, supply chain software as the dominant business application by 2002, and c-commerce will be used by large organisations by 2004.
To serve this market suppliers will need to target specific industry sectors and make their products modular so that customers can easily snap their applications into their c-commerce infrastructures.
Said Gartner analyst, Bruce Bond: "Industry domain expertise is critical. ERP suppliers talk about industry initiatives but their products are really generic. C-commerce will force ERP vendors to be focused in different industries."
He added that smaller vendors will become stronger contenders because they are able to produce software that can be bolted into customers' c-commerce strategies.
"C-commerce applications will enable multiple enterprises to work together online within a dynamic trading community, or 'cybermarket' in which relationships are far more fluid and opportunistic," he said, adding that traditional ERP systems are too rigid.
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