Small Spenders

If your company has yet to make a big-bucks commitment to e-business, you’re not alone. Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc. found that 65 per cent of the 357 companies polled spend less than US$1 million a year on e-business.

The survey, which tapped companies in the financial services, retail, transportation, utilities and telecommunications sectors, found that e-business investment does not correlate with company size. Rather, those low levels of spending reflect the fact that most companies don’t have a serious, enterprisewide e-business effort, says Kirk Reiss, senior vice-president of Meta Group Consulting.

“Right now there’s just been a lot of stopgap [initiatives],” he says. The study also found that most companies view e-business as primarily a sales channel — a huge mistake, he says. “If you look at it as just another channel to take orders, you may be missing a whole opportunity to create [new] business models and to compete in a totally different way,” Reiss says.

Companies that really get e-business spend at least US$5 million a year on it, have a top executive overseeing e-commerce or e-business and strong support from the CEO, develop customer and intra-enterprise systems, and view e-business as a new business or a new model for their existing business. What’s hot on the horizon for e-business development over the next three years? Bringing e-business to the supply chain.