Optus parent comes to B2B party

Optus parent comes to B2B party

Cable & Wireless Optus has signed $10 million of new business through its B2B site "MarketSite" by winning a tender for the business of its British parent company, Cable & Wireless PLC.

Cable & Wireless will use Optus' MarketSite engine, based on Commerce One software and operating out of North Sydney, to run its electronic procurement in the United Kingdom, the USA, Japan and Europe.

Optus expects its parent to push $3 billion of procurement every year through MarketSite, and will send out its professional consulting services staff to help the various branches of Cable & Wireless get started.

Cable and Wireless PLC will focus on indirect procurement of IT goods, stationary and contract management such as human resources in the initial six months. Then the company will move into sourcing value categories such as servers and telecommunications equipment.

Optus' general manager for e-Business, Noel Hamill, said the company does not need to mirror the site for the contract, and can run the entire operation from North Sydney. The only preparation required before Cable & Wireless comes on-line in August 2001, is the education and training Optus' professional services staff will provide their international counterparts.

Hamill said he had to tender for the contract in the same fashion as all its competitors, and claims Optus received no special treatment by its parent. "We look at them as a customer," he said. "We competitively tendered for the business and dealt directly with their procurement department."

Hamill was unable to disclose whether Cable and Wireless Optus had received a return on its investment in building MarketSite, but said the company is happy with their investment to date. He was also unconcerned about the negative market sentiment around business to business e-commerce at present, or that many of the industry's software vendors (including Commerce One) were currently experiencing financial difficulties.

"I think the market is over-reacting in the downturn in the same way it over-reacted to the hype," he said. "Electronic business is just business. When suppliers and buyers are using this site to conduct business, it has nothing to do with what the NASDAQ is doing on a day to day basis."

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