May 02, 2005, 3:44 PM — Research Highlighted in this Issue:
Forrester Research. "Adaptive trading networks."
Some years back, there was a great deal of hype about something called the electronic marketplace, or virtual exchange. The idea was that huge B2B marketplaces would emerge, allowing, for example, manufacturers to acquire supplies and materials through this online exchange, rather than having to seek out individual deals. The obvious advantage to the manufacturer was the ability to see everybody's prices at once, and find the best supplier for each situation at any given time.
These things still exist, although they haven't quite lived up to the original promise. In a global environment, it's just a lot easier to stay with your incumbent provider. The old model, dating back to when a trading exchange meant getting your supplies from your cronies at the Moose Lodge, has deep roots. Forrester points out in its report this week, however, that a new type of trading network called an Adaptive Trading Network may bring some big changes to the online marketplace. In this new type of exchange system, a company would connect its supply chain to a type of interconnected global system, which would be orchestrated by a Global Trade Orchestrator, a new type of service provider that helps companies optimize those trade flows through multiple supply networks.
There are two types of online exchanges. Private exchanges are orchestrated by one company, usually a very large one, to create a framework for connecting all of its suppliers. A public exchange places buyer and seller on more of an equal footing, and is a bit more free-wheeling. Emarketer's report takes a look at these B2B exchanges, taking a deeper look at private exchanges of some of the country's largest retailers. The report also profiles ten public B2B exchanges. Both types of exchanges seem to be undergoing a revitalization, especially private exchanges for huge retailers like WalMart, who are signing up suppliers, ramping up activity, and moving ahead with Internet-based trade.