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December 5, 1997


'Business is ready for e-business'

R Vijay Shankar at Hotel Taj Palace

Jeff Mason, general manager, solutions development group, IBM, USA, delivered the keynote address on the second day of the Comdex conference here.

The theme of the conference is 'Towards The intelligent network'.

Jeff Mason's keynote
Q&A: Jeff Mason
E-cash alternatives
Selling on the Net
Internet telephony
Knowledge strategy
Q&A: Rick Inatome
Looking forward
Mason's topic for the day was 'Partnering with solution developers for e-business'. IBM has seven partnerships for development of solutions worldwide and its centre in India, with 400 engineers, is important to the solution development activity of the company.

Mason focused, particularly, on industry trends, e-business opportunities and the IBM solution developer programme.

He said the software market in 1997 is estimated at $132 billion worldwide. Of this, software developer marketing accounts for $107 billion. The norm is that for every $1 of software, the hardware and services required are worth $4. Mason calculated that the IT industry is estimated to have a $428 billion business.

The challenges to solution developer programmes at present, according to Mason, relate to computerisation, deregulated markets, skilled labour shortage and a mobile workforce because the demands are for faster and better computing.

It is in the area of skilled labour that India holds a great advantage over other countries, Mason said.

The current trends in expenditure on IT show a growth and the figures are expected to be about 2.7 per cent of corporate revenue, he said.

With over a billion users and about 50 million connected to the Internet, Mason is sure that, e-commerce has a bright future. The Internet commerce revenue, he says, will be in the range of $200 billion by 2000.

Low transaction costs have led to growth in e-business, especially in sectors such as securities and retailing. Distribution strategies for all kinds of products are seeing a change in mode and the way people do business today is also evolving towards e-commerce, Mason said.

IBM is well positioned, he said, to harvest the e-business growth. IBM already has a major role in the IT infrastructure for ATM transactions, he pointed out.

Mason emphasised the Java would develop into a future standard and promoted the language as offering very good productivity. "One million programmers have experimented with Java and about 50 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies have experimented with Java," he claimed.

Mason feels that 100 per cent pure Java will have a catalytic role in object-oriented programming and will offer the flexibility to run systems on a whole variety of hardware.

IBM publishes a network-computing framework, a blueprint for e-commerce applications. The company has also made design improvements to reduce, through a series of Java applets, the amount of unique coding. And that will enable focusing energies on value-added aspects, Mason claimed.

"Business is ready for e-business," he announced. Mason advised, "Concentrate on business solutions, not technology; build on what you have, start simple, grow fast."

Mason also spoke about the various services and support offered by IBM worldwide and said that IBM had 130,000 visits a week to their Web pages, which offer 30,000 applications.

Also 150 people are retained for answering questions from developers, he said. Support and service is very critical, asserted Mason.

Also: A quick Q&A with Jeff Mason

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