Fledgling business resource developer bSolutions launched its B2B advisory service (adviceplus.com.au) for the enterprise sector last week, after leaving the incubation fold of legal firm Mills Oakley.bSolutions has entered a partnership agreement with Hewlett-Packard (HP), which will see HP supplying netserver technology and credit facilities for adviceplus. The vendor is also expected to become the service and support partner for bSolutions as the system develops.adviceplus is designed to provide businesses with up-to-the-minute business and legal advice for a $99 annual fee. The developer has leveraged significant intellectual property from its founder, Mills Oakley, and major shareholder Jim Piper, a patenting specialist. These two organisations will continue as content providers for the B2B service to ensure its immediacy and quality of information.
"We want to provide a tool set for businesses," says Gerhard Moll, managing director of bSolutions. adviceplus customers should be able to access 90 per cent of the legal and business advice they require from their PC, he says.
Moll believes the legal profession should continue to move in the direction of commodifying standard practices, such as employee agreements, and setting standard up-front costs.
According to Moll, bSolutions turned a profit last month after two years of growing pains. The developer has secured a lucrative content-provision contract with Telstra and is currently in discussions with ninemsn and seek.com in an effort to round out its customer base.
Moll says the next 18 months will be spent building the B2B service subscriber base, and bSolutions has laid the groundwork with HP to absorb this growth. "HP sees this as an example of the e-services it is looking to build," says John Lynch, marketing development manager for HP Netservers. "You need a back-end infrastructure that is scalable and can absorb the growth of such a business from 100 hits a day to 1000 hits the next day. It has to provide different levels of access for different users, and discern whether the user requires a full-length explanation accessible from their desktop, or whether a simple yes'/no' answer through their PDA is preferable."
Mills Oakley still retains a 60 per cent stake in the company. However, Moll says this share will decline as other investors exercise their options and increase their holdings. Jim Piper currently holds a 20 per cent share in the firm.