New Research Study Demonstrates Demand for Automated Exchange of Spreadsheets

Sunbury, United Kingdom — March 17, 2010 GXS™, a leading provider of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce solutions, today announced that, 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 study, “Joint Industry EDI/B2B Survey” surveyed 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. This indicates a significant market opportunity for greater B2B automation across a wide-range of companies and industries.

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. Given the continued globalisation of business and the lack of IT system maturity among companies in many emerging markets, the popularity and use of Excel for B2B will likely continue. GXS Trading Grid® 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 minimising 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 globalisation 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. Automating more B2B processes saves money, shortens the order-to-cash cycle and enables higher customer satisfaction. Businesses with robust B2B integration capabilities are now in prime-position to finally automate relationships with all business partners, regardless of size or technical prowess, worldwide.”

According to the Forrester study, only 19 percent of enterprises (with revenue greater than $1 billion per year) conduct B2B e-commerce with more than 80 percent of their communities. In short, the vast majority of enterprises still conduct transactions using paper, e-mail, fax or non-standard means with their trading partners and need additional automation solutions to address the shortfall. Forrester found that nearly 70 percent of respondents—enterprises and SMBs alike—have more than 500 trading partners, demonstrating the scale and opportunity for additional B2B automation solutions.

The Forrester study also explored many other aspects and drivers of B2B automation. Some examples include:

  1. 85 percent of respondents use some form of B2B e-commerce services, versus software, in their B2B environments;
  2. 46 percent plan on putting more focus on services-based transport for B2B in the next three years; and
  3. Several business issues are driving the need for an improved ability to interact with trading partners including the need to reduce rising costs (82 percent); the need to exchange electronic documents with business partners (82 percent) and the need for real-time visibility into business processes (81 percent).

The 300 companies that participated in the survey range in size from approximately $100 million in revenue to more than $5 billion. The respondents were senior IT managers and executives evenly split geographically with one-third based in North America, one-third in Europe and one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. The manufacturing industry (38 percent) was the largest vertical represented in the survey followed by financial services/insurance (18 percent), retail/wholesale (12 percent), transportation/logistics (ten percent); utilities (nine percent); healthcare (eight percent) and government (six percent).

About GXS
GXS is a leading global provider of B2B e-commerce solutions that simplify and enhance business process integration and collabouration among trading partners. Organisations worldwide, including more than 70 percent of the Fortune 500, leverage the on-demand services on GXS Trading Grid® to extend supply chain networks, optimise product launches, automate warehouse receiving, manage electronic payments and gain supply chain visibility. GXS Managed Services, GXS’ B2B outsourcing solution, empowers customers with the expertise, technical infrastructure and program support to conduct B2B e-commerce with trading partners globally.

Based in Gaithersburg, Md., GXS has an extensive global network and has local offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.  GXS can be found on the Web at http://www.gxs.co.uk, http://blogs.gxs.com/ and http://twitter.com/gxs.

All products and services mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies.

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For further information please contact:

Denise Oakley, Director, Marketing Programmes International GXS
Tel – +44 (0) 1932 776408 / +44 (0) 7768 537 481 Email: denise.oakley@gxs.com