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Cambridge Tech, Commerce One ink B2B services deal

Joining the business-to-business craze, the professional services firm says it has partnered with the software maker to provide business e-commerce services to corporate clients.

Joining the business-to-business craze, systems integrator Cambridge Technology Partners today said it has partnered with software maker Commerce One to provide business e-commerce software and services to corporate clients.

Under the nonexclusive agreement, Cambridge Tech said it will provide the consulting, strategy and systems integration needed to install Commerce One's specialized portal software that helps companies conduct business with their partners and suppliers via the Internet.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is the first move Cambridge Tech has made into the business-to-business market. Like all of the more traditional consulting and services firms, the company has been busy shifting its focus to attract more Internet-based projects, as a growing number of companies continue to move their businesses to the Web.

Several professional services and consulting firms have been scrambling to team with business e-commerce software providers such as Commerce One and rival Ariba in an effort to gain momentum in the popular business-to-business market.

A major driver is the huge revenue potential in the growing market. Leading research firms foresee the business-to-business market growing to between $2.7 trillion and $7.3 trillion by 2004.

For the most part, the business e-commerce action has centered on companies' needs to form online marketplaces or trading exchanges in order to connect buyers and sellers of their products and supplies on the Internet.

By using Net marketplaces, companies aim to drive down internal purchasing costs and cut massive amounts of paperwork. Professional services firms such as EDS, IBM Global Services and Andersen Consulting have been stepping up their efforts in the business e-commerce realm, providing customers with consulting and systems integration work to help them build online exchanges.

Earlier this week, Internet consulting firm AppNet also signed a deal with Commerce One to jointly develop online marketplaces for companies. As part of the agreement, the companies said they will jointly develop a business plan to address 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.