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Analytics in the E-marketplace

Analytics in the E-marketplace – Product Information

Alicia Costanza

More business transactions are being conducted on the Web, increasing the need for a way to analyze the results of these processes. To address this need, Broadbase Software Inc. and E.piphany Inc. recently made announcements about their respective e-marketplace analytic solutions.

But first, let’s define e-marketplaces. According to Current Analysis Inc. (www.currentanalysis.com), e-marketplaces are an “infrastructure of business-to-business commerce applications that enable many-to-many trading activity which occurs in virtual commerce networks.” Those involved with e-markets, for example, can participate in auctions, job forums, collaboration, and settlement services.

Current Analysis considers this market an emerging one, and estimates overall revenue in the space was between $100 million and $250 million in 1999. The firm predicts the market will grow at a rate above 100 percent over the next year, and again over the next three.

In an attempt to cash in on this developing space, Broadbase (www.broadbase.com) launched its E-Marketplace application, an addition to its existing automated customer relationship management suite. The new application includes an offer optimizer that analyzes transaction history by product and compares it to current market activity; quantitative data on buyer and seller behavior; analysis of performance metrics; summarized transaction analysis for both buyers and sellers; and analysis of industry trends.

Broadbase hopes its tools help marketers retrieve information about e-marketplaces that has proven elusive in the past. “The inner workings of the exchange remain closed, preventing organizations from optimizing their procurement and selling activities for the market dynamics of the trading community,” says Joseph Marino, senior analyst, Internet commerce, at Current Analysis. “Broadbase’s E-Marketplace offering provides buyer and seller organizations with a comprehensive set of tools to evaluate overall marketplace activity.”

Not to be upstaged, E.piphany’s (www.epiphany.com) announcement was made at an E.piphany business-to-business (B2B) conference in San Francisco one business day after the Broadbase unveiling. E.piphany, however, presented a less concise plan about how it is going to work within the e-marketplace framework. Saying little more than it had extended its E.5 B2B solution to enable marketers to gain more insight about the action within the e-marketplace, the company seemed more interested in combating the Broadbase announcement than making waves of its own.

“Given the lack of details, it appears that while the E.5 system is a relatively robust and thorough solution suite, the announcement was made primarily to attract attention at the B2B conference and to diffuse announcements from some of E.piphany’s competitors,” says Mike Schiff, director of data warehousing strategies at Current Analysis.

At this stage of development for e-marketplaces there is room for many companies to jump in and offer analytical services. “We expect Net marketers to adopt e-marketplace analytical applications because value-added services remain important revenue streams for trading partner exchanges,” Marino says.

But despite Broadbase’s aggressive plans, Marino warns the company should not expect to see a return on investment quickly since digital marketplace transactional activity is slow.

Regardless of whether or not E.piphany’s announcement was just “pressware,” the fact remains that the newly developed e-marketplace — and the related market analytics space — is expected to experience rapid growth. And with rapid growth often comes vastly improved technology and fierce competition.

“In all, providing marketplace analytics for many-to-many trading activity is a good square to land on, and, as the recent E.piphany B2B announcement indicates, is a move most competitors will act quickly to match,” Marino says.

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