Web-enabled?

While the e-business revolution may have gone a bit quiet over the past year, it would be wrong to assume that it has ground to a halt.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  October 26, 2002

While the e-business revolution may have gone a bit quiet over the past year, it would be wrong to assume that it has ground to a halt.

This month alone has seen a host of companies and organisations looking to online solutions to streamline business-DHL is putting its airway bills online; CompuMe is introducing Bolero.net to remove paperwork between its stores and suppliers; Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce has a world class messaging system for its members; Cisco is using a web-based satisfaction survey to keep partners happy-it seems that the hype may finally be paying off.

But is the channel ready to make the most of what's on offer?

For far too long, many of local channel players seem to have relied solely on a web presence and an email address as their only nod to e-business.

The web sites that some resellers and distributors have used have been particularly bad.

Illogical web addresses, out of date information, dead links, horrible design, no useful content... so many of these companies would be better off without a web site than some of the disasters that are online.

Even in a business that seems to take pride in not using anything other than the 'phone and face-to-face meetings, these sites fail by not even giving you an up-to-date contact number.

The situation is changing though. As more and more vendors push their global systems to local partners, so local offices are having to come into line. While not all solutions are suitable here, the infrastructure is certainly good enough that poor connection is no longer an excuse.

It is difficult to imagine that many vendors will insist on their partners using web-based tools just yet, but those that can't or won't hardly send the right message to their partners about their technological understanding.

The local channel has to start working at building a better web presence, if it wants to be seen as a genuine, cost-effective and forward-thinking route to market.

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