With all the buzz surrounding the Internet and e-Commerce, it
is sometimes easy to forget that the Internet revolution is just getting
started. Internet commerce is soaring, from $50.4 million in 1997 to a projected
$1.3 trillion in 2003, according to International Data Corporation (IDC, '99).
The Gartner Group predicts that by 2005, 25 per cent of all consumer spending
and 70 per cent of all business-to-business commerce will be
"Internet-involved" (Gartner, '99). In fact, analysts estimate that
today, only five per cent of the server infrastructure needed to support
projected e-business demand in 2005 has been deployed.
Keeping up with that kind of wildfire growth is no picnic.
Companies must commit to deploying servers, network hardware, software
solutions, and management systems at breakneck speed—or risk losing customers
to businesses that do. Just as important, these systems must be cost-effective
to maximize profitability.
To drive integrated and innovative solutions, collaboration
among solutions providers is essential. After all, no one company can address
all the demands of e-Business customers in every industry. Enter Intel. The
company that successfully nurtured the personal computer industry a
decade-and-a-half ago has aligned the existing ecosystem to harness the power of
the Internet. This Intel e-Business Network is a highly efficient collaboration
of over 1500 computer companies, 50,000 active channel members, 3000 systems
integrators and solutions providers and more than 400 independent software
vendors — all aligned on the Intel platform.
Integrated Solutions for Expanding Markets "There is no
way for a single company to provide all the solutions and have all the
answers," says William Swope, Vice President of the Intel Architecture
Group and General Manager of the Intel Architecture Solutions Enabling Group.
"We have a long history of working with other companies to enable the
broader market, and we are bringing that experience to bear to the Internet and
e-Business. Intel works with Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer
Relationship Management software companies, Web consultants, server component
makers, and a host of other providers to enable effective solutions."
This approach stands in contrast to many early e-Business
deployments, which were based on tightly-packaged, vertical solutions built on
proprietary platforms. Despite high upfront costs and disruptions to their
existing infrastructure, companies turned to these closed solutions to establish
an initial e-Commerce presence.
"The problem is, these single-vendor solutions can
really limit your options, particularly as the scope of e-Business deployments
expand," says Swope. "How can you find best-of-breed solutions that
are competitively priced when you are limited to a single supplier?"
Swope points out that upgrading proprietary systems can be
extremely expensive. What's more, companies can find themselves locked into
non-standard technologies and solutions that limit interaction with other
business operations and the Web.
Recognizing the need to provide an effective alternative to
customers, Intel held The eXCHANGE conference in October 2000. The industry
gathering was designed to bring solutions providers and customers together to
show the broad range of current e-Business solutions available on the Intel
platform, and to help guide a path to enabling more effective solutions in the
More important, Intel continues collaborating with hundreds
of companies to help advance e-Business solutions across the board. Over the
past year, the company has opened more than a dozen Solution Center Labs, where
vendors can pre-test and pre-build Intel-compatible solutions. Intel is also
working with Web integrators and e-Business service providers to better meld
software solutions with Intel-based hardware.
"Intel is collaborating with the many providers and
vendors that make the Intel platform so powerful, and better solutions are the
result," says Deborah Conrad, general manager of Intel's Business Marketing
and Alliances Group. "We want customers to know that Intel-compatible
solutions are the most effective and reliable they can find."
A History of Collaboration: Intel knows a thing or two
about collaboration. As the leading supplier of processors for desktop PCs in
the 1980s and 1990s, it worked with companies like Microsoft, IBM, Compaq, and
hundreds of others to establish the PC as a vital business tool. That effort
helped evolve a highly flexible and open platform with unmatched economies of
Intel has taken this track record to the Internet. The
company as a community of developers, suppliers, and service providers that all
work toward a single goal — to provide superior e-Business solutions on the
Intel platform. This multi-vendor model enables downward pressure on prices and
an upward trend on features, tapping the capabilities of the greater community.