3Com Corp. purchased Interactive Web Concept Inc., a 40-employee E-business consulting firm in Mountain View, Calif. Terms of the purchase weren't disclosed. Separately, Cisco Systems led a group of investors that pumped $90 million into E-business consulting firm Enterprise Networking Systems Inc.
3Com and Cisco plan to use the acquisitions to provide their enterprise customers with E-business consulting services and packaged solutions. As companies move aggressively into E-business, the demand for related consulting services is increasing dramatically. Dataquest estimates that the amount U.S. companies spend on E-business services will rise from more than $10 billion this year to $59 billion by 2003.
3Com's acquisition of Interactive Web brings Web and application development services to 3Com's consulting practice. "So now when we go to a client we'll be able to develop end-to-end, setting up a Web front end to an E-commerce application and linking it to their network infrastructure," says Alan Rice, a marketing director in 3Com's consulting services group.
Enterprise Networking Systems and Cisco's Internet Business Solutions group plan to collaborate on consulting and design services that will help businesses build application-aware network infrastructures that optimize the performance of E-business applications.