Big Blue and Galeries Lafayette Move on E-Commerce

IBM this week announced a strategic alliance with LaSer, the services and technology division of French retail firm Groupe Galeries Lafayette, a move that some industry analysts feel will serve to advance e-commerce in Europe.

Under terms of the 15-year agreement, the two companies will develop and offer IT solutions for European retailers, and work with a strategic outsourcing contract worth 1.1 billion Euros (US$1.2 billion) — the largest such contract ever signed in France, according to IBM.

An eMarketer report has indicated that France is embracing e-commerce with 3.3 billion francs (US$584 million) spent online in 1998, compared to 1.2 billion francs (US$212 million) in 1997.

Global E-Business Services

“The retail industry is in the middle of a period of profound change as new technologies impact consumer habits and the entire supply chain,” commented Philippe Lemoine, co-CEO of Galeries Lafayette. “As a market leader, it is important Galeries Lafayette stay at the forefront of innovation in the industry.”

The agreement focuses on e-commerce, developing retail service offerings in six areas, including the deployment of dedicated e-business Web sites, the availability of IBM technology consulting and enterprise resource planning management. According to a Reuters report from Paris, the outsourcing contract component of the deal — involving IBM’s Global Services Division — will cover the entirety of Galeries Lafayette’s information system.

The European Union (EU) endorsed a draft proposal in late spring to both promote and regulate e-commerce, addressing a range of issues from cross-border transactions to spam. EU subsequently passed the endorsed draft to its 15 constituent parts for ratification, where an ongoing debate regarding privacy issues has remained active.

Taking on IBM’s E-Biz Hype @ Home?

San Francisco-based Intershop, an e-commerce firm, is launching a new series of print advertisements intended to lampoon IBM’s massive e-business PR campaign.

The new ads, created in collaboration with Winkler Advertising, will feature what it perhaps hopes will become catchy new media buzzwords such as “e-b.s.,” “e-consultant hell” and “e-terminated.”

Stephan Schambach, in a Wired report, stated that the company’s intention is “to poke fun at the whole industry.” “We were trying to leverage the whole e-hype and show that Intershop is a leader in electronic commerce,” Schambach added.

According to Intershop, International Data Corp. (IDC) numbers indicate that the company beat rivals IBM, Oracle and others with 20,000 e-commerce sites deployed in 1998 utilizing its solutions. Intershop develops and sells e-commerce products for enterprises and commerce service providers including merchant and hosting editions.

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