The Internet has well and truly changed the nature of the supply chain. As Baltimore's John Palfreyman said in November, "1999 was the year of trials, 2000 is the year of implementation".
The most obvious talking point was the application service provider model. Even Microsoft applications are now available for lease over the network, but whether any money is being made out of the business remains to be seen. It's more a question for 2001.
Business to business (B2B) has been the other buzz acronym of the year, with both the corProcure and Cyberlynx trading hubs established among some of the country's largest bricks and mortars. These large horizontal trading hubs were expected to be quite a headache for traditional suppliers. But involvement in such exchanges has not been nearly as widespread as the penetration of electronic procurement systems between buyers and sellers that already had established business relationships. As always, technology may change the way business is transacted, but business is still business.
In the US the vendors have been co-operating in the creation of new B2B initiatives such as the Universal Discovery, Description and Integration (UDDI) directory, which enables companies to list their electronic trading abilities and find suitable trading partners. The directory is currently in beta mode, so again it will be 2001 before we see the results.
Locally, it seems the responsibility of management among the large Internet players left a lot to be desired during the year, with a mass exodus of executives at Solution 6 following some irresponsible spending. Similarly, eisa's bid for UUNet-owned OzEmail failed after eisa failed to attract significant funding, leaving the company in serious financial difficulty. eisa's assets ended up in the hands of Austar.
The importance of logistics has been realised in dot-com land, culminating in Australia Post's move into dot-com fulfilment, offering a bricks and mortar presence to online partners. The scheme is expected to add a lot of confidence to online consumers worried about the reliability of delivery and credit card fraud. It was too little too late for many dot-coms however, with hundreds closing their doors in Silicon Valley, and several shutting their doors on the home front as investors grow wary of investing in technology stocks.
Channel.com highlights 2000
26/6 MS extends Office space with ASP partnersWebCentral, Peakhour and Unisys have joined Microsoft's local ASP pilot program to offer the Office and BackOffice product suites under rental terms28/6 WebCentral on its ownAfter 18 months of OzEmail control, local Internet hosting company WebCentral has completed a triumphant management buyback and the company is now set to expand its SME offerings into the high-end corporate market.
05/7 Giant portal opens for business
A superportal of 14 of Australia's biggest enterprises was announced today, but officials say the venture will account for little more than 1 per cent of the nation's industrial expenditure26/7 ICANN expands name domainLast week's decision by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to add new top-level domain names to the ubiquitous .com, .net and .org has been met with mixed reactions from Australian domain registration companies30/8 VARS set to ride ASP waveSystems integrators and VARs are in an excellent position to take advantage of application service provider growth, according to Paula Hunter, president of the ASP Industry Consortium13/9 Online procurement hub offers local business opportunitiesFive of Australia's largest corporations have combined to create a new online procurement-buying hub, to be called Cyberlynx20/9 Burst bubble confirmedNew research from KPMG Corporate Finance suggests that only half as many dot-com companies will float in the current financial year as they did last year27/9 Austar to get eisa any way it canAustar's bid to acquire eisa has failed after several eisa shareholders refused to accept Austar's bid of 20 cents per share for the troubled ISP01/11 Solution 6 announces reformsJust two months into his term as Solution 6 CEO, Neil Gamble has announced an extensive reform of the company's various business units to bring the company into profitability next year