You could be rivals' e-market guinea pig

Users employing consultants to help deliver new business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces could become guinea pigs for roll-outs...

Users employing consultants to help deliver new business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces could become guinea pigs for roll-outs that provide expertise for their competitors.

David Bicknell

Charged with having to deliver a "B2B exchange" within six months, as businesses race to announce new collaborations, many IT managers have little in-house IT expertise to draw on.

The result is likely to be an explosion in consultancy fees as management consultancies rush to offer their services.

The problem for users is that management consultancies, as well as large systems integrators, are also wrestling with how to deliver marketplaces.

As a result, users face seeing their offices invaded by a string of representatives "going to school" on their systems. The knowledge will then be recycled for use on competitors' projects.

A user conference on B2B marketplaces held in Vienna last week was attended by all the major consultancies, eager to offer help to companies trying to understand how to participate.

But Jim Mackay, chief technology officer at marketplace software specialist i2, warned users that without strict controls they face a repeat of their spending on implementing enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP.

"You will have to incorporate members of your own team into the effort to give you warning signs if consultants are going to school on your systems," said Mackay.

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