Attention shoppers: E-Mall expanding

E-Mall, one of the country's most ambitious online procurement efforts,

has successfully hurdled its pilot phase, and Massachusetts is expected

to announce today that it has chosen Intelisys Electronic Commerce Inc.

to expand the effort.

The expansion is expected to create one of the largest government-to-business

electronic procurement systems in the nation and will enable public agencies

throughout Massachusetts to participate.

"We are extremely pleased with the results of our pilot and look forward

to expanding its reach in order to realize the benefits of e-commerce throughout

the commonwealth," said Philmore Anderson, Massachusetts's purchasing agent.

E-Mall began in 1998 as an 18-month multistate pilot project. Along with

Massachusetts, participating states included Idaho, New York, South Dakota,

Texas, Utah and Washington.

E-Mall worked like an electronic shopping center, using the Internet to

connect buyers and sellers. Hundreds of vendors could offer governments

their products, which officials could order on their PCs. And the combined

purchasing power from thousands of state customers was to drive down prices.

Through the pilot, buyers trimmed administrative costs as much as 72 percent,

got better pricing from suppliers, reduced delivery times from weeks to

days as well as the time it takes to execute a purchase order, according

to Intelysis.

Massachusetts plans to make E-Mall available to 154 commonwealth departments,

351 cities and towns, and other public purchasing entities by early next

year.

All of the state's 1,000 approved contractors are eligible to participate.

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