Bin those B2B proposals

Somebody, somewhere in your organisation, is dreaming about launching an "e-exchange"

Somebody, somewhere in your organisation, is dreaming about launching an "e-exchange"

Online exchanges, also known as business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces, have been flavour of the month just long enough for even the dimmest of executives to hear about them.

So expect a series of hair-brained proposals to land on your desk - if it is not overflowing with them already.

Chuck them in the bin - and listen to the experts instead. Ferdi Roberts, managing director of B2B software provider Ariba last week predicted that fewer than 10% of today's 1,200 online marketplaces will survive.

B2B exchanges reinvent the middleman - with the only business logic being to slash procurement costs. Unless you are a huge manufacturing multinational, you will not make money out of the exchange itself.

As for being part of an online trading community: that's a different question. The 100 or so e-hubs that survive will be commanded by corporate giants: as their trading partner, you will obey.

So, by all means gear your systems to trade within the e-hubs of tomorrow. But - unless you work for a corporate giant - don't even think about launching one yourself.

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