Here's an astonishing fact: Of the 600 exchanges being tracked by AMR Research, only 10 provide application integration. That means few marketplaces perform as billed.
"At this point, a lot of transactions are still happening by phone and by fax and by E-mail," says AMR analyst Kimberly Knickle. The goal is to remove human intervention from the marketplace--all the faxes, phone calls, paper invoices, and cutting and pasting that currently keep marketplaces running.
Even Eastman Chemicals Inc., a charter member in the ChemConnect marketplace, says poor integration makes transactions cumbersome. "We have to reduce the number of steps needed to conduct a transaction and have transparency into the company we're doing business with," says Mark Klopp, director of digital business ventures for Eastman.
New integration packages are dribbling out. New products are expected in the coming weeks from Extricity Corp., Mercator Inc., and Vitria Inc. And last week, IBM unveiled a business-to-business version of its WebSphere application server.