In the past few years, companies such as I2, CommerceOne and Ariba have been
locking-up key agreements to form B2B marketplaces. Now, it is time for
execution. However, while these companies have elegant solutions, there
will be a huge demand for integration services for B2B marketplaces.
Beneficiaries will include e-consulting firms, which interestingly enough,
have been selling off. One is answerthink
. In the past year, the price range has been $9-1/4-$40-3/8.
The current stock price is $15-3/16.
Answerthink specializes in complex technology integration projects and has
been focusing on B2B marketplaces. For example, in the past quarter, the
company snagged a deal to develop an e-marketplace for the vision care
Another important development was the deal with Sun Microsystems, in which
answerthink will become one of its e-integrators. The deal will make it
easier for answerthink to develop technologies using Sun technologies, such
Answerthink has also signed a key deal with IBM. In the alliance, both
companies will develop transaction systems for wireless devices. Basically,
the goal is to provide “enterprise to anywhere” capabilities.
But a clear validation of the company’s potential for the B2B marketplace is
the deal it signed last week with i2
. At a $36 billion market cap, i2 is a mega leader in the B2B
space. No doubt, its software platform, TradeMatrix, will become an
integral part of many B2B marketplaces. Actually, i2 and answerthink have
worked together for two years and are expanding the relationship. It should
mean a strong boost for the growth rate of answerthink.
In the past quarter, sales were $81.7 million, which was up from $62.7
million from the same period a year ago. Net income was $7 million.
The problems with the e-consulting industry will weigh down on answerthink.
Also, the build-out of B2B marketplaces is a long-term process. So, it will
probably take some time for the stock price of answerthink to gain momentum
on the upside. But the potential looks enormous.