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Until the massive growth of the World Wide Web, business to business electronic commerce was limited to functions appropriate for expensive proprietary WANs and a lot of custom software. But all that has changed. Networked commerce isn't about back room applications any more. Successful businesses must interact with suppliers and customers around the world. The benefits of a standard IP protocol, combined with increasingly sophisticated commodity hardware and software, make it relatively easy for companies of all sizes to link their suppliers, partners, and customers in a bidirectional flow of information. The Internet has become a tool used to reduce transaction costs, shorten product cycles, expand markets, and-most important-provide rapid response to the customer's changing needs. Internet commerce in goods and services between companies was estimated at US$8 billion in 1997, according to Forrester Research in Boston. International Data Corporation estimates that business to business sales over the Internet will represent $81.2 billion by 2000. Manufacturing companies lead the way, and Cisco Systems leads the manufacturers. Its Web site, Cisco Connection Online (CCO), launched in August 1996, now generates almost $10 million in sales per day-around $600 million in three months from August through September 1997. Cisco Systems specifically uses the Internet to distribute software and technical data, as well as customer support.