The use of the Internet to facilitate ecommerce among companies promises vast benefits:
- dramatically reduced costs,
- greater access to buyers and sellers,
- improved marketplace liquidity, and
- new array of efficient and flexible transaction methods.
But if the benefits are clear, the path to achieving these benefits is not clear.
The B2B market is still in its infancy, and its structure continually changes.
Despite press coverage, little is known about how business-to-business commerce will evolve on the Internet
The high level of uncertainty is causing widespread anxiety among executives and for good reason.
Whether as buyers, sellers, or both, all companies have substantial stakes in the business-to-business marketplace.
Their supply chains, their product and marketing strategies, their processes and operations will be shaped by the way B2B relationships are formed and transactions are carried out. Yet at this moment even the most basic questions remain difficult for companies to answer:
- Which exchanges should we participate in?
- Should we form a trading consortium with our competitors?
- Should we demand that our suppliers go on-line?
- What software should we invest in?
Executives understand that the wrong choices could have dire consequences, but they also know that in the fast-paced world of the Internet they need to act soon or they will be left behind.