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Report on E-Business
Friday May 25, 2001

XML extends business horizons

Bob Murray wants chip designers to design chips, not edit documents.

But the manager of technical communications at PMC-Sierra Inc. in Burnaby, B.C., estimates the chip-design firm's 750 or so designers spend a quarter of their time creating documents. Mr. Murray hopes to cut that by about 10 per cent by using extensible markup language (XML).

Web strategists set their sites on women

Every Sunday morning, while her husband and three children are still asleep, Carole Cantor creeps downstairs to her Toronto kitchen to indulge in one of her favourite activities.

It's not that the 44-year-old ultrasonographer doesn't want to be found out. It's just that she wants at least half an hour of uninterrupted time to surf the Web.

Woman power

Jennifer Evans, national director of Toronto-based DigitalEve Canada,a women's technology network, points to a number of sites she thinks are serving women well.

Among them is Journey Woman (, a travel resource featuring female-friendly city sites, an international travel-tip bazaar, travel tales from women around the world, and on-line travel classifieds and links.

Ad-tracking tools give more bang for buck

Grant Rasmussen wants more bang for his seven-figure, on-line advertising buck.

And the Toronto-based chief strategy officer for RBC Investments is getting it by using the latest Internet ad-tracking tools to gauge whether and which of the ads that he places on dozens of Canadian Web sites are winning new customers for his firm's on-line and full-service brokerage services.

Internet business services the new ASP model

In the office, at home or in a hotel room -- it doesn't matter where Brian Fillo is. As long as he has a computer and an Internet connection, the sales manager for Calgary-based Guest-Tek Inc. can check data on his customers. And as soon as he updates the information, it's available to co-workers.

Companies underwhelmed by business portals

A funny thing happened to business portals -- they ran into guys like Rick Broadhead.

Mr. Broadhead is usually described as an Internet analyst and author. You could even call him an evangelist.

E-biz fund managers pick comeback kids

If you believe the venerable market wizards who argue that the optimal time to buy is "at the maximum point of pessimism" or "when the blood is in the streets," then you may want to take a good look at mutual funds that target e-commerce, and the companies they hold, right about now.

Employers, employees embrace e-learning

Calvin Martin has plenty of time these days for two of his favourite pursuits -- mountain-climbing and boning up on the new technology that's a big part of his job as an Internet-marketing consultant.

Law firms find sites that feature

If you're a lawyer hoping to do business with GO Transit, Ontario's government-owned transit system, prepare your Web site for some careful legal scrutiny. It's not that GO bases its decisions only on how helpful and current your on-line information is, but it sure doesn't hurt.

Local utilities find profit power through the Net

As deregulation of Ontario's electricity industry forces small municipal utilities to either grow or be eaten, Whitby Hydro Energy Services Corp. has found a new way to use the Internet not only to expand its business but to develop new sources of revenue.

All electronic contracts are not created equal

For businesses engaging in e-commerce, contractual certainty is a critical legal issue. Whether for an e-tailer, a B2B enterprise or a provider of on-line services, the contracts consummated on-line must be enforceable. Without this assurance, e-commerce simply isn't viable.

Daycare goes live to air

Even though Bronwen Heins is the busy president of an Ottawa real-estate firm, when her three-year-old daughter is stacking blocks, playing with dolls, throwing her food or napping angelically while at daycare, her mother doesn't have to miss a thing.

New tool answers e-mail more intelligently

Sending a question via e-mail to a company's Web site can be like casting a fishing line into Lake Ontario -- you never know what you'll get back.

Travellers cruise high seas - and the Net

It was choppy markets rather than choppy seas that made Tracy Simpson hesitate about taking a two-week cruise earlier this month.

"I was really worried about taking a vacation so far from a phone in this market," said the manager of a privately held family trust fund in Toronto. Nevertheless, she went ahead with the trip from Venice to Barcelona aboard the Crystal Symphony, which included several days at sea without a port stop.

Riding the e-waves

Can you really do business as usual while at sea?

"Internet at sea has a way to go. But it will be better once more applications are written," says Brad Tully, president of Mississauga-based cruise-travel agency The Cruise Professionals Ltd.

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