Survey says e-business is getting ready to boom

Revenues gained through e-commerce are expected to dramatically change within the next two years, according to a ComputerWorld Canada survey.

Companies that make 26 to 40 per cent of their revenues from on-line purchases only numbered six per cent in the survey, but that number is estimated to jump to 17.6 per cent in 24 months.

The on-line survey asked 431 respondents about their e-commerce practices and how they saw the future shaping up.

Seven out of 10 people reported their company considered electronic customer service initiatives not relevant, while more than half noted they had already implemented business-to-business communications.

The survey also asked readers who had the most influence in the acquisition of hardware, software and services to build electronic business solutions. IT management led the way with 48.7 per cent, while four out of 10 respondents said executive management would make those decisions. Marketing management was only responsible for those decisions 4.6 per cent of the time, while other department management showed only 6 per cent.

This was further broken down to show that in companies with only one to 50 employees those acquisitions are made by executive management 58.6 per cent of the time. However, in companies with more than 5,001 employees, IT management would be 53.9 per cent more likely to make those choices. In all of these categories marketing management and other department management made these decisions less than 10 per cent of the time.

The survey asked readers to rate factors as obstacles to the deployment of e-business activity. The most significant obstacle, from the respondents’ point of view, was consumer concerns over transaction security, with more than four out of 10 agreeing. Less than half of the readers thought extra shipping costs were a factor and more than 50 per cent noted a delay in delivery was an obstacle. Half of those polled responded that consumer preferences for in-person shopping was a moderately significant factor.

Currently only 37.6 per cent of those polled have established electronic commerce relationships with their suppliers, but 42.2 per cent of these business people reported they are planning on setting up that kind of relationship.

Although only 17.9 per cent of respondents spent more than $1 million on electronic business technology initiatives in 1999, that number is expected to rise more than five per cent in 2000. And while close to half of those polled noted their companies spent less than $50,000 on those initiatives in ’99, that number shrinks to 33.4 per cent for 2000.

Respondents indicated 64 per cent of employers outsource less than 25 per cent of their electronic business development.

The survey also found readers think the future of e-business will either play a role or dramatically alter the way business is done.

More than 25 per cent of the respondents were business management, 24.6 per cent were IT management, 21.8 per cent were consultants and 19.2 per cent were IT staff.