edrinksconference.com - September 19 and 20, 2000, London.

The worldwide significance of e-business was clearly demonstrated at a recent conference in London where delegates from 15 countries listened to a top class line-up of speakers sharing their experiences in this dynamic field. As one of the speakers, Peter Joseph of Novell UK, put it: "Today, a 10-person company is global - you don't have to be everywhere."

The two-day conference was organised by the Drinks Buyer Group and TenLive. It covered many aspects of the future of e-business in the drinks trade, and featured speakers from such diverse companies as IBM, Datamonitor, and advertising agency Leo Burnett.

The co-chairmen of the conference were Kneale Ashwell, the newly-appointed CEO of BevAccess.com, and Smoke Wallin, chairman and CEO of eskye.com. Wallin told delegates that in the future it would not be e-drinks and e-commerce, but simply drinks and commerce. He said: "Everyone in this room should focus on training their people and working out how to use networks." There were warnings, too. Neil Broome, analyst from Datamonitor, told the conference: "If mail order didn't work in the past, we don't see why the Internet should work in the future." Philip Padfield of Ironside Technologies said: "Some dotcom companies have no business plan - they just thought they could be on the web."

There were success stories too, with delegates being treated to e-business and e-commerce case studies from companies like Seagram, Carlsberg and Berry Bros & Rudd. They listened to experts from the legal and insurance worlds outlining some of the opportunities and problems associated with doing business on-line. On the second day of the conference, the delegates split into two streams to learn about supply chain and e-procurement, or customer relationship marketing.

Sandy Guthrie, editor of the Drinks Buyer Group, said: "The delegates were pleased that such a well-respected panel of international speakers were able to share their experiences. This is a very fast-moving business. We shall obviously have to be back soon to help update people on the latest developments in the world of e-commerce and e-business in the drinks trade."