Channel changes loom for e-businesses

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David roman has seven Macintosh computers in his home--practically one for every room of the house--that are vestiges of his 14 years with Apple Computer Inc. as manager of marketing operations in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Australia.

Now chief marketing officer at, an e-commerce building block provider for software publishers and digital goods providers, Roman rarely has time for one, let alone seven, Macs.

BtoB: Where are we likely to see changes in b-to-b e-commerce in the next year or two?

Roman: One is, I think the biggest value of b-to-b e-commerce is the relationship between the vendor and the customer because you can provide a much deeper, much richer connection between the two. You can buy products 24 hours a day, seven days a week; you can have access to all of the information; you can really provide much greater contact. I think that will have implications on companies' channel strategies, and I think many of the channel partners will have to look very carefully at where they're bringing value to the customer. I think the second is when, as a vendor, you do provide that richness of access to your services, then you have to deliver, and that won't always be that easy.

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