Gartner: e-business bottoming out

Researcher Gartner, which claims to be best of the bunch at analysing the e-business market, is saying 'we told you so' over the hiccup in creation of electronic marketplaces.

Researcher Gartner, which claims to be best of the bunch at analysing the e-business market, is saying "we told you so" over the hiccup in creation of electronic marketplaces.

The company's Asia-Pacific research director, Lane Leskela, says the global e-business trend is heading into a "trough of disillusionment" in the wake of the dot-com shakeout. This will bottom out in the middle of the year, before beginning the ascent toward the "slope of enlightenment", eventually reaching a "plateau of profitability" toward the end of the decade.

Leskela, who was speaking at an IBM software business media briefing in Bangkok late last month, says his observations are the product of being "the largest and most mature" e-business market watcher. Global e-business uptake is following the classic "hype cycle" which can be used to track the progress of any new technology, he believes.

"'E' doesn't mean easy; it means experienced," Leskela says, adding that there are successful e-marketplace examples, but that they're not publicising themselves.

To succeed, he believes, an electronic market needs to either enable participants to make savings or get new sales. The industries best placed to do so are transport and logistics, power supply, telecomms bandwidth provision, construction, and manufacturers of commodity-based goods.

"Vertical markets will defeat horizontal ones," says Leskela, who predicts the Asia-Pacific region will end up with about 500 e-markets. By 2004, the region (excluding Japan) will be transacting about $US1 trillion electronically between businesses, he estimates. New Zealand will be third last (ahead of the Philippines and Indonesia) in dollar terms, in the amount of electronic B2B activity it engages in, he says.

At present, he says, 1% of the region's economic activity traverses IP networks.

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