UK e-business is moving away from automating existing processes to fundamental transformation of business practices, according to a survey by the Confederation of British Industry.
Jeremy Beale, head of the CBI's e-business group, said, "Reducing cost is the number one thing businesses are looking for. When you look at what they are doing on cost, they are trying to get a more efficient supply chain in place."
The study, sponsored by the Department of Trade & Industry, said the UK had reached "the end of the beginning" of the e-business road.
CBI deputy director general John Cridland welcomed the progress of e-business, but warned, "Over 50% of companies expect legislation to affect their ability to integrate electronic processes over the next two to three years, so the government needs to ensure that regulation does not get in the way."
Of the 314 UK companies surveyed, 68% dealt with their customers online and 50% used remote access and teleworking, compared with 50% and 10% in 2002.
The survey found that 41% of firms had changed, retendered or restructured contracts with their IT suppliers in the past 12 months. Of these, 67% did so to cut costs, and 50% said "poor service quality and inadequate support" persuaded them to alter contracts.