In what represents yet another great opportunity for channel companies, new evidence suggests customers are struggling to come to grips with the true meaning of e-business, an analyst from Interactive Knowledge Online (IKO) claimed.
Furthermore, Aseem Prakash, CEO of IKO, said there is an atmosphere of reluctance and procrastination from organisations to engage in the reinvention of business processes which is essential to becoming an e-company.
Speaking at the launch of a new corporate planning tool from Compuware, aimed at helping organisations plan and execute the transition to B2B functionality, Prakash presented the results of a survey into Australian B2B readiness. He said the results showed that while respondents recognise e-business to be a "mandatory evolution" there are significant barriers in the transition.
"Companies are struggling to measure the success of their B2B projects and there is a poor understanding of what they have to do," Prakash said. "Managers are still seeing business-to-business e-commerce as an IT issue.
"It is not an IT issue, it is a new way of doing business," he added.
According to Peter Pritchard, marketing director for Compuware Asia-Pacific, this aloofness and refusal to accept the imminent arrival of e-business as a standard method of doing business represents a danger to the entire Australian economy.
He feels there is a genuine danger of Australia as a nation missing a huge opportunity to be a pioneer in the embracing of e-commerce and the borderless markets it offers. Resellers can play a major role in changing that "lack of understanding", he added.
"If we [Australia] don't address the resistance, we are going to get left behind," Pritchard said. "This research [by IKO] shows that the biggest barrier to faster adaptation of B2B methodologies is management commitment and education. It [e-business strategy] has to be driven by the CEOs. Rather than being a chief executive officer, they have to become a chief e-business officer to get a common direction going within the whole organisation.
"E-business is all about total re-invention of business methodologies and processes. A common parlance in the boardroom is to say that we have to do e-business' when the reality is that you don't do' e-business, you become one," Pritchard added.
It is resellers who are in one of the strongest positions to take advantage of all this confusion, according to Prakash, but they must take a good look at their own business first. Additionally, he feels that if resellers don't get the message right for their customers it will have a negative impact on their own business.
"It is a great opportunity for resellers," Prakash said. "The smart ones will start by reinventing themselves. Most resellers are small businesses and if they have done the work themselves and gone through the pain of becoming e-aware, then they will be able to demonstrate the benefits better to their customers.
"You are not going to get thanked by a customer if you just sell them an Apache server, a very expensive NT box and a bunch of modems, because that will not make it work for them."
To get a view of Australia's level of B2B readiness, IKO surveyed 470 organisations (including 307 Australian companies of all sizes) across a broad range of industries and government. staff at all levels of those organisations were polled and results accumulated as a whole and in various categories.
Compuware's "corporate planner" and "practical blueprint" for a transition to e-commerce is called Bricks to Clicks - Recharging the Enterprise. It is designed to help overcome the barriers to e-commerce readiness as identified by IKO's survey.
Further information is available from www.ebusinessknowledge.com.