RealTime IT News

BellSouth Launches Supply Management Center

BellSouth this week introduced its new Internet supply management center for small businesses, dubbed PurchaseWise.

The Web site is stocked with a complete line of office supplies, as well as access to a suite of online supply management tools, including reporting and analysis capabilities designed to manage their businesses' purchasing.

John Shivanandan, BellSouth (BLS) e-business senior director, said its online purchasing service is the first of several small business initiatives.

"The BellSouth PurchaseWise service demonstrates how BellSouth enables its customers to take advantage of the benefits of e-commerce," Shivanandan said. "BellSouth is committed to providing a full portfolio of e-business services that work in tandem with our award winning Web access and Web hosting capabilities."

BellSouth's purchasing program is powered by the Commerce One Inc., which enables real-time interaction between buyers and suppliers and includes a simple hosted procurement application.

Mark Hoffman, Commerce One (CMRC) chairman and chief executive officer, said its alliance with BellSouth will open up a new market for business-to-business e-commerce.

"BellSouth's PurchaseWise service is a great opportunity for us to bring the benefits of Internet trading to small businesses in BellSouth's nine-state region," Hoffman said.

BellSouth's small business purchasing program is aligned with Boise Cascade Office Products Corp. and home office online supplier NECX Direct LLC. Boise and NECX offer BellSouth e-commerce members an inventory of over 25,000 products to choose from. BellSouth plans to add additional vendors this year.

David Goudge, Boise (BOP) vice president of marketing, said its good to get in on the ground floor of BellSouth's e-commerce offering.

"We see it as a great opportunity to utilize leading edge business practices to provide customers with the best possible prices and services," Goudge said.

Brian Marley, NECX vice president of operations, said teaming up with BellSouth brings the power of online procurement to small businesses.

"To support business-to-business transactions, we are utilizing the power of the Internet to provide small businesses with the industry's most comprehensive procurement catalog for computer hardware and software products," Marley said.

In March EarthLink Network Inc. introduced its small business resource center as an online service for Internet sales, marketing and communications opportunities. The service allows small businesses to concentrate on commerce, rather than technology issues.

Incumbent local exchanges carriers, Internet service providers and application services providers are morphing into online entities to tap specific market segments. By unleashing small business initiatives, communication services are setting up aggregate offerings that are designed to lock-in customers to a new way of doing business with a single company.

Both EarthLink (ELNK) and BellSouth are emerging from carrier-specific services to establish a new business paradigm and shift how small businesses operate. The online value propositions are replacing old business models with new communities of vertical markets that are centered around a core of communications technology services.

BellSouth is inaugurating its e-business venture with a free-membership offer for small bus