Opportunity in the Wings
Defying common knowledge that says ROI takes a backseat to e-business strategy, IEEE's commerce revenue has more than quintupled on an annual basis since IEEE rolled out its first electronic product (a CD-ROM) about six years ago.
Yet, publishers like the IEEE take a broad view of e-commerce, using e-business (sales, marketing, purchasing, human resources, procurement and supply-chain management) and e-commerce (customer-facing Web sites, personalized digital marketing campaigns and capturing/possessing sales orders) interchangeably. In addition to selling its content and subscriptions online, the IEEE enriches the online experience for its members by engaging partners including ITN.com to book travel for industry conferences, FatBrain.com to provide an industry bookstore and Hire.com for industry-related jobs. Each partner has customized these sites to integrate seamlessly with IEEE's site. IEEE negotiated unique business models for each partner. For instance, FatBrain.com and Hire.com are both revenue-sharing engagements.
The Manufacturing and Electronics division at Cahners Business Information also has taken an alternative approach to e-commerce. In September 1999, Cahners purchased a 15 percent equity stake in PartMiner, which provides marketplace technology and procurement services to the global electronic components industry. PartMiner's online marketplace. Free Trade Zone, allows users to research, source and purchase electronic components online.
As part of the terms of the Cahners' agreement, PartMiner became the exclusive e-commerce provider of electronic components to the electronic original equipment manufacturer (EOEM) market on e-inSITE, Cahners' portal for the EOEM market. PartMiner's targeted commerce services are now embedded in e-inSITE content to help customers speed their time to purchase. In October 2000, Cahners invested its third round of funding in PartMiner.
"We tracked PartMiner for a year as a leader in the electronic components marketplace, and their performance confirmed our earlier decision to invest in PartMiner," says Brian Nairn, president and COO of Cahners. "PartMiner had the right revenue model and partnerships to automate and add value to the electronics components supply chain."