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UK firms drop standalone ebizzes

More 'pragmatic' says CBI

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The number of UK companies with standalone ebusinesses has more than halved in the last 12 months, according to the latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

It found that only 16 per cent of firms now have separate e-business operations, compared with 38 per cent of companies in 2001.

Although this change appears to signals a shift in attitude, nine out of ten UK firms use ebusiness to help them become more efficient.

It seems companies are ditching customer-facing ebusiness and instead adopting systems aimed at suppliers and employees.

Out goes the dotcom principle that saw the Net as a new channel - a new way of flogging goods and services which often meant setting up separate divisions - and in comes the use of ebusiness tools such as intranets and electronic payment systems.

In essence, the aptly named report, Reality Bites, found that British firms have become more pragmatic about what ebusiness can do for them.

However, this new-found realism acknowledges that wired technology can reap some benefits with nine out of ten companies believing that ebusiness can reduce operating costs.

Said CBI Director-General, Digby Jones, said: "This is clearly the year when reality bites for e-business.

"Business is pragmatic and is using the technology to help achieve new efficiencies and bottom line benefits," he said. ®

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