E-marketplaces falling off the radar: report

The current status of e-marketplace and e-procurement use among medium- and large-sized Canadian companies is not very encouraging, according to a recent study by Toronto-based IT research firm IDC Canada Ltd.

IDC Canada’s quarterly ePanel and iPanel reports highlight the results of polls of senior IT execs in 100 medium and 100 large organizations.

The latest findings show that only eight per cent of medium-sized and 18 per cent of large organizations are currently using an e-procurement solution. On the e-marketplace front, the findings are similar – only 12 per cent of medium-sized companies and 15 per cent of larger companies reported using an e-marketplace.

Once touted as the shining path to e-commerce e-marketplaces are floundering in Canada, said Joe Greene, study author and analyst for Toronto-based IDC Canada. It’s not that companies don’t understand the potential benefits of e-procurement/e-marketplaces – cost-savings, process efficiencies, employee productivity and lower operating costs – rather, end-users simply have different priorities.

Specifically, Canadian companies are more interested in improving customer relations and IT infrastructure.

E-marketplace adoption and utilization has been “vastly disappointing,” agreed Michel Lozeau, senior vice-president of e-commerce at Montreal-based National Bank. “It’s not the Klondike that people thought it would be.”

National Bank recently tweaked its e-commerce strategy, which included a name change – from ClicCommerce to National Bank eCommerce

The new changes reinforce the National Bank’s commitment to this “promising sector,” Lozeau said. “Clients will be hooked after a few purchases…To make people adopt it you have to lead them to it. If you don’t proactively help companies make that change, they won’t bother.”