ECONOMY

E-business hit by lack of method

The Internet is a powerful means of communication and for conducting transactions but there is no doubt it has so far failed to deliver the once highly expected benefits in business terms. «Now that the cries of futurists – from the metropolis of the NASDAQ to the regional parrots of the Balkan parish – have receded, we have arrived at the cool appraisal that electronic business has neither swept nor will sweep away the existing networks of the old economy. It will function in parallel and complementarily to them,» said Nikos Karatzas of Ianos (who set up his e-bookshop in May 1998) at the recent regional conference of the Association of Advertising Companies of Greece (EEDE) in Macedonia. Karatzas believes that like all other trendy things in Greece, electronic bookshops were set up in a makeshift and amateur manner. «After setting them up somehow, they found the cost of maintaining and updating them, and of executing orders was too high,» he says. He thinks one of the basic prerequisites for the success of an e-bookshop is the existence of a real bookshop or a network of bookshops. The firms still in business now spend up to 80 percent of their infrastructure budget on integrating their dispersed applications and only 20 percent on differentiating them from competitors, says Oracle’s Nikos Papachrysanthopoulos. However, the continuous technological changes, he adds, require an increasingly rapid adaptation. The usual information systems for managing entrepreneurial resources (ERP) are usually inadequate for production processes and they end up functioning as new generation commercial and accounting applications, says Intellectron’s G. Pratos. «It is generally acknowledged that there is a vacuum in the Greek market for information systems capable of serving industrial production. Moreover, there is a lack of specialists who can determine the requirements of an industrial enterprise and run e-production applications,» he notes. Mobile operator-linked CosmONE says the value of its e-commerce trade in the first nine months of 2002 was 213 million euros.