This is the vision of microprocessor supplier Intel, which has dubbed this next phase of the e-commerce revolution "the third generation of Internet business".
John Davies, Intel vice-president of e-business marketing, last week predicted that companies would start using the Internet to link their business processes with an increasing number of suppliers to reduce costs and to create faster, more collaborative relationships.
Davies said, "Competitive advantage will be measured by how well suppliers can tailor information delivery to their customers' systems."
A key advantage for suppliers will be the creation of one-to-one relationships with all of their customers.
Intel's vision addresses one of the main objectives of supply chain management - controlling the flow of information from suppliers to enhance business processes.
Speaking to Computer Weekly at CeBIT, Davies said IT directors have to ask themselves whether they are getting the right information from their supply chains to enable them to make effective business decisions.
Under Intel's vision, the first generation of e-businesses used the Internet to establish an online presence by creating electronic catalogues and doing basic marketing.
Second generation e-businesses which followed began linking their Web servers to back-end systems to enable customers to place and track orders online.
Intel believes the third generation model will be commonly used within the next two to three years.
This was first published in March 2000