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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. 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.

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