E-consulting with E&Y

E-consulting with E&Y
By: Laura B. Smith

Consultants are putting an "e" in front of everything related to Internet business, it seems. Surf around their Web sites and you'll find e-commerce, e-business, e-economy, e-enterprise and more. Everything, it seems, but e-easy.

That's because building an e-commerce system isn't easy. Not only do you have to choose the right platform and applications, but most e- consultants advise their e-clients to transform their supply chains and delivery channels along with their e-catalogs. No simple task, and yet it needs to be done fast.

Time to market, in fact, is the driving factor behind a new consulting relationship between Microsoft and Ernst & Young, forged to help companies make faster e-decisions. Called eCommerce RapidStart, it uses a Ready, Set, Go! metaphor to develop an e-commerce pilot.

In the Ready phase, you and the consultants spend up to three days in a workshop to define an e-commerce strategy, prioritize initiatives and select a pilot for rapid development. In the Set phase, engineers at the Microsoft Advanced Development Center (ADC), which is owned by E&Y and jointly staffed by the two companies, create an e-commerce solution based on the Windows Distributed interNet Applications Architecture (Windows DNA). This includes Microsoft SiteServer, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Visual Studio 6, integrated with Microsoft Exchange Server.

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In the Go! phase, the ADC ships the solution to your data center and assists with implementation, sticking around for a pilot run of 60 days, if needed.

Many other consultancies -- especially the Internet "pure plays" founded to assist with e-business-are offering fast turnarounds on e- commerce initiatives. The E&Y/Microsoft offering is notable because of the partners. After all, there's nothing like getting advice from the e-horse's mouth.

Laura B. Smith is a contributing editor from Swampscott, MA.

This was first published in August 2000

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