Enterprises that effectively open their internal processes to external collaboration will grow 20 percent faster by 2004 compared to those that don't, said Lee Geishecker, research manager for Gartner Inc., at the Internet & E- Business Conference in New York on Monday. Spending for collaborative commerce technology will increase over the next few years to comprise 5 percent of overall information technology spending, she noted.

The benefit of collaboration for many companies begins internally, where they learn to connect different department operations outside of traditional parameters, Geishecker said. Forecasting operations, for instance, traditionally connect with executive management and planning departments, but not necessarily with budgeting and human resources. But under an internal collaborative environment, the forecasting operation directly shares information with budgeting, human resources and several other operations, providing for faster, more complete decisions.

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