As e-business moves into the mainstream, it's becoming an increasingly integral part of the work conducted by companies large and small. More than 400 top IT execs told us what they're delivering to their constituencies with their e-business initiatives, and the news is that activity is widespread and far-reaching. Offerings range from customer-centric online commerce to internally focused business process management. But though many of the surveyed companies are actively rolling out e-business systems, with a number already up and running, the biggest challenge seems to be in matching expectations with the value these offerings are delivering.

CIOs are most focused on e-commerce systems and online customer relationship management offerings. Supply chain management is last, though larger companies are planning to move more heavily into this arena in the coming year.

Expectations for e-business systems vs. what's actually being delivered is often out of sync. Small businesses are often locked onto projected gains that haven't been realized. For larger companies, it's a mixed bag: In some cases, their expectations are too high, while in others they're actually realizing gains they hadn't anticipated. —Gary A. Bolles

Gary A. Bolles is an independent technology and marketing strategy consultant based in San Francisco. He is the former COO of Evolve Software, former vice president of marketing for Network Products Corp., and was an editor at Yahoo! Internet Life and Network Computing magazines.

This article was originally published on 12-01-2001
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