Corridor bullish about low-cost exchange

Corridor, the B2B trading exchange for the furnishing industry, claims its cheap 'n' cheerful approach will buck the downward...

Corridor, the B2B trading exchange for the furnishing industry, claims its cheap 'n' cheerful approach will buck the downward trend of online exchanges.

The trading hub, which was launched at the Furniture show in January this year, has signed up Furniture Village, a retailer with 28 stores located throughout the UK.

Nick Bennet, technical consultant with Corridor, said integration costs would range between "a few hundred and a few thousand pounds". Critics of e-marketplaces have argued that the cost of integrating disparate IT systems to a trading hub are prohibitive, with some IT costs spiralling up to £150,000.

But Bennett claimed that with Corridor, "Integration is no more than the import or export of text files. We have standard formats for each document type - these are XML-based. It's essential if we are to build a trading community rapidly that we are as flexible as possible and that we remove the complexity of file format conversion from the retailer or supplier."

Paola Bassanese, an e-business analyst with Ovum, remains sceptical. She said, "There is no such thing as an integration process that is painless, because we are talking about linking the front-end with legacy systems. There are industry players like Oracle with out-of-the-box solutions. However, the whole implementation process will take about one to three months depending on the complexity involved."

Earlier this year, Forrester Research predicted that by 2005, trading exchanges would account for 6% of all B2B trade in the European Union. But the analyst group also forecast that of the 1,000 or so exchanges already established in Europe, only one in 20 would survive.

Bassanese added: "The real winners are going to be the providers of the applications and services like systems integrators, application vendors and financial services companies, and not the people who will trade over the hub."

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