Businesses are continuing to increase budgets for integration projects as technologies that integrate customers, service providers and suppliers gain importance in the corporate community, according to a new study by the Yankee Group.

The Yankee Group also found that deploying and operating technologies that manage transactions between trading partners can reduce costs and allow staff to concentrate on other high-value business automation projects. Survey respondents ranked the reduction of transaction processing costs as the most valuable benefit from transaction management technologies, followed closely by the need to meet customer conditions for doing business.

"Consistent with previous Yankee Group demand-side research, corporate interest in solutions that interface with partners is strong. Improving electronic communication with customers, suppliers and service providers continues to be a corporate priority," said Jon Derome, senior analyst, the Yankee Group.

Integration technology budgets continue to increase, despite difficult economic conditions, as the price of integration solutions becomes more affordable for businesses to deploy, according to the study. Sixty-three percent of businesses surveyed reported their e-commerce technology budgets increased in 2002 compared to 2001, and half of the respondents expected those budgets to increase in 2003 compared to 2002.

The survey determined several other important trends:

  • Many companies are extending EDI systems to manage more complex inter-company business processes. Yankee Group expects this trend will continue as IT budgets expand and J2EE and XML mature and gain adoption.
  • Electronic trading network service providers deliver an important value to businesses, namely the ability to bring security, reliability, and non- repudiation to the solution.
  • Outsourcing data communication requirements to a third-party service provider is an approach that is effectively being used to scale transaction volumes without increasing labor costs, thereby allowing company executives to focus on core competencies.

For the study, the Yankee Group conducted interviews with companies in a range of industries including the retail, wholesale, logistics service segments and the high-tech, industrial equipment, consumer packaged goods (CPG), food and beverage, and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries.

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