News.com has an interview with Harvey Seegers, CEO of GE’s erstwhile B2B business which was recently sold to a tech buyout fund. A few points Seegers makes stand out:
As much as we in the IT world would like to wish it away, companies still think that IT spending is a discretionary expense. There is something else that we and other industry players have done which is cause for optimism: Technology has made it much more cost effective for third- and fourth-tier vendors to do business electronically. Hopefully, the story is that small to medium-sized enterprises come online like their larger counterparts. You’ll see and read a lot about Web services. But there’ll be a lot of talking and not much walking. I think you’ll see the continued fragmentation of XML. It won’t be the lingua franca that everybody hoped it would become…I don’t see a clear path toward getting industry agreement on any XML standard. I feel very strongly that private exchanges have a bright future. Even while companies tried to figure out the public-exchange game, we were investing in private exchanges. The private domain we run for GE has 40,000 suppliers, and this year GE will buy $20 billion in goods and services using the private exchange GXS.