According to a new multi-client study conducted by Forrester Consulting, spreadsheets and other text-based documents are one of the most popular methods for B2B data exchange. The Joint Industry EDI/B2B Survey queried 300 information technology (IT) professionals around the world and found that 95 percent of respondents use spreadsheets, or a similar format, for some or all of their B2B transactions.
GXS, a leading provider of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce solutions, says this indicates a significant market opportunity for greater B2B automation across a wide-range of companies and industries. GSX notes that many companies use Microsoft Excel as a tool for sales reporting, spend analysis, cash flow forecasting and e-mailing B2B transactions (invoices, purchase orders, shipping documents, etc.) with business partners. GXS Trading GridÂ® for Excel enables companies with no formal B2B infrastructure to use Microsoft Excel 2007 to exchange spreadsheet-based transactions with their trading partners in an automated fashion, thus minimizing the business impact to the users, but introducing B2B e-commerce-based automation. GXS receives the spreadsheets from the customers electronically and automatically translates them into electronic data interchange (EDI) or their trading partner's standard of choice.
"Driven by the globalization of supply and rapid growth of emerging markets, it is not surprising to see so many participants in supply chains using spreadsheets as a primary vehicle for exchanging information," said Karl Salnoske, executive vice president of Service Delivery and CIO of GXS. "The good news is that there are many options to integrate these trading partners in an automated fashion that do not require significant investments in back-office systems or the deployment of complex integration software. Powerful and easy-to-use web forms technologies and new capabilities within Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010 provide means for companies of all sizes and locations to participate in global B2B e-commerce automation."
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