Monona Terrace Convention Center was the setting for a meeting of minds on questions of electronic commerce in early November. The Global E-Business Consortium sponsored a two-day “think tank” symposium titled Consumer E-Commerce and Internet Retailing: A Roadmap for Success. University and industry leaders met to envision and debate the future of Internet-aided commerce, identify barriers to the development of the next generation of consumer E-commerce and discuss methods of overcoming those barriers.
The agenda included presentations by executives from Sun Microsystems, Lands’ End, American Family Insurance and uBid.com among others. COE researchers including Lillian S. Moehlman Bascom Professor Patricia Flatley Brennan, consortium director Professor Dharmaraj (“Raj”) Veeramani and Trace R&D Center & Universal Access Partnership Director Gregg C. Vanderheiden also spoke at the symposium.
“One of the things that struck me was that even though there is a lot of diversity in the types of companies represented here, many of the challenges and concerns raised are very similar,” says consortium director Dharmaraj (“Raj”) Veeramani. “So there is a tremendous opportunity for leveraging the lessons learned in one industry to another.”
In addition to presentations, participants were grouped into breakout sessions where they discussed web presence and strategy, changes to supply and distribution and opportunities for global e-commerce.
“A lot of companies are looking for some level of assurance that what they are thinking of doing makes sense,” Veeramani says. “Since so many things are so new and no one really knows the best answer since there aren’t any proven examples necessarily, these sessions operate almost like a support group where they can toss around some of these ideas.”
Veeramani says the symposium was also an excellent opportunity to showcase the talent available at the university. He says many business leaders were unaware of the many resources relevant to e-commerce available on campus.