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Building the ecosystem

Mar 12 -25, 2001

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 future.

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 scale.

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.