Lante, which focuses on helping companies develop business-to-business trading exchanges, plans to expand SolutionCentral's existing IT resource Web site into an online marketplace targeting businesses with large IT staffs, the company said. To date, SolutionCentral's Web site targeted individual IT professionals, providing them online resources, such as industry roundtables and technical training programs.
Through the new SolutionCentral marketplace, Lante said companies will be able to create a tailored training curriculum for their large IT staffs over the Internet and develop standards for allowing network managers and system administrators to enroll and take classes on new technologies. The marketplace will allow companies to track and better manage all of the training that different IT professionals need to receive as well as drive down paper work and time involved in finding the best-priced training programs.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In recent weeks, a growing number of business-to-business marketplaces have been popping up, targeting a wide range of fragmented industries and markets, including oil and gas, food, pharmaceutical, apparel and auto manufacturing. Companies are moving their supply chain online, aiming to reduce the paperwork and time involved in purchasing, manufacturing and inventory.
The market for business-to-business e-commerce is expected to explode in the coming years, striking an interest from a wide range of technology providers in recent months, including Lante rivals EDS, Andersen Consulting as well as other software and hardware providers. Leading research firms have projected the market to reach between $2.7 trillion and $7.3 trillion by 2004, from about $131 billion last year.
Lante, which went public in February, is one of the few Internet consulting firms solely focused on business-to-business e-commerce projects, providing companies with Web design, strategy, consulting and the complex systems integration work entailed in developing these massive online exchanges. But, as the market for business-to-business e-commerce continues to boom, a number of Internet consulting firms are jumping in the game.
Earlier this week, Internet consulting firm AppNet signed a deal with business e-commerce software maker Commerce One to jointly develop online marketplaces for the financial services, automotive, manufacturing and oil industries. Bethesda, Md.-based AppNet will also become a preferred partner for providing consulting services to Commerce One customers.