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IDC Finds Europeans Enamored With E-Procurement

Europeans seem to be enthusiastic about adopting e-commerce -- especially when it comes to e-procurement.

A recent study by IDC found Europeans eagerly laying foundations for the automated acquisition and management of goods and services and readying themselves for an online EU economy.

"It's clear that European e-procurement vendors have their marching orders," noted IDC, having found that 38 percent of European businesses are already utilising the Net to buy goods and services whilst another 36 percent expect to do so by early next year.

IDC observed that 69 percent of purchasing managers cited speed as the greatest driver of online buying activity. After speed, other compelling e-advantages such as lowered costs, greater product selection, the ability to comparison shop, improved workflow, smoother supplier coordination, and the ability tighter control over operations were alluded to.

According to IDC, only 45 out of the 500 procurement managers that were surveyed across six Western European countries were adverse to e-procurement owing to established business practices and long-running contracts with existing Net-unfriendly suppliers.

More than half of current European e-procurement activity was found to be limited to the acquisition of office supplies (the maintenance, repair and operation supplies, or MRO, sector). Nonetheless IDC found that buying manufacturing products via the Net is gaining popularity amongst purchasing managers, one third of whom told indicated that they are already buying material as well as production equipment online.

Difficulties in coming to grips with complex e-procurement systems, internal resistance to change, integration hassles, and supplier resistance to moving online were found to be biggest thorns in the side of 100 percent European e-procurement.

IDC, however, found that these problems were being steadily overcome and that the majority of Europeans were keen to make the transition to e-commerce.