Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The competitive edge for SME's B2B e-commerce

A solution provider from the Netherlands has tailored its webCommerce product to help SMEs trade online, helping them to bridge the digital divide.
The competitive edge for SME's B2B e-commerce
A lack of technical expertise as well as a limited source of funding creates a digital divide between small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and larger companies. Many SMEs also face great difficulty when updating their legacy systems or integrating new technologies. The result is that the majority of European companies are unable to exploit the benefits of e-business.

European policy and funding efforts have targeted closing this gap. In order to do so, low cost solutions that are easy to implement must be developed. Interoperability with a variety of systems and technologies is also crucial.

TIE, a business-to-business (B2B) integration software provider since 1987, believes is it has the answer. Its product, webCommerce, was developed with the particular needs of SMEs in mind. webCommerce addresses nearly every type of business transaction that can occur between two parties.

Central to webCommerce is interoperability. Since there is no common computer-based language for communication between two systems, it is necessary to be able to translate between a variety of languages and formats. XML, RDB, flat file and EDI (both EDIFACT and X12) file formats are all recognized. In addition, TIE software developers employ ebXML to ensure transparency with respect to communication protocols.

Concerning implementation, webCommerce can be delivered via Application Service Provider (ASP) in addition to typical installations. It can be accessed through any standard Internet browser.

webCommerce has already been converted into a product. It is targeted to SMEs looking to start trading online with other organisations in a fast, easy manner. Further development efforts are focused on incorporating web service support into future versions. Enabling SMEs for e-business will help stimulate the competitiveness of the European economy.
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