The UK is leading Europe when it comes to e-commerce development, a CBI conference in London heard this week.
Despite recent warnings that UK businesses are falling behind in the on-line revolution, Lorenzo Pengo, European manufacturing industry marketing manager, told delegates the UK is on the right track.
`From an outside perspective, I see the UK as far more advanced than other countries. There are two countries in Europe which are leading the way: the UK and Germany,’ he said.
However, Rod Blackwell, industry marketing manager for Microsoft in the UK, said Britain still has a long way to go before manufacturers are using e-commerce technologies to the extent of US companies.
`When you look at examples of what’s going on in the US, they are definitely ahead of us in terms of adopting e-commerce. I think the difference is there’s a “let’s go and do it” attitude over there,’ he said.
`I think there’s a lot more to be done, in showing people how you can practically change. Companies don’t want the hot air bit – “you must be on the internet or you’ll go out of business”. They want to know how they translate that into what they actually do in their company to make it happen,’ he added.
Speaking at the same CBI event, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said e-commerce will soon replace all other forms of business transactions.
Addressing the conference during his whirlwind visit to Britain, Gates urged delegates to seize the opportunities new technologies would present for getting closer to customers and drastically reducing paperwork.
Gates believes these changes will revolutionise commerce. `Nothing this radical has come from the world of business for many years,’ he said.
And he warned that middlemen would have to reconsider how they add value with the rise in direct internet sales.