14/08/2002

Forfás stresses potential of e-business

The downturn in the world economy and the technology markets has dampened the importance being accorded to e-Business, according to Irish enterprise agency Forfás.

However, the Agency has warned that the slowdown should not be allowed to lead to complacency on e-Business adoption by the government and business in Ireland.

In a report 'e-Business: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?', published by Forfás, it is stated that Ireland has made significant progress in establishing a supportive environment for e-Business and e-Business adoption by the enterprise sector has steadily improved. However, countries with which we compete continue to strive for leadership positions by implementing new initiatives to improve the business environment for e-Business.

The report found that e-Business continues to be one of the major issues facing businesses today. Despite the economic slowdown, worldwide revenues from e-Business continue to grow strongly, with eMarketer – an Internet Consultancy firm – estimating that worldwide e-Business revenues will grow to €2.4 trillion by 2004. While this is down from previous estimates of €3.5 trillion, information and communications technologies (ICTs) that underpin e-Business are impacting significantly on all sectors.

Firms in Ireland should continue to invest in ICTs, change to e-Business processes and increase their electronic trading capabilities in order to remain competitive, according to the report.

A survey contained in the Forfás report indicated that there is further potential for the enterprise sector to make optimum use of e-Business for competitiveness. While almost all enterprises are connected to the Internet, only around a third are using e-Business processes in ordering and supply activities.

The report shows that firms who use e-Business effectively can generate revenue increases of 10% to 20% and cut costs by 20% to 45%. Organisations throughout the world are developing and investing in long-term e-Business strategies, moving beyond just developing a website, to integrating ICTs and e-Business into all aspects of the business processes.

The report points out that companies and countries that do not respond dynamically to the challenges that e-Business brings, may find themselves at a competitive disadvantage relative to e-enabled companies and countries, when the world economy improves.

(SP)

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