Reading research reports is a true test of optimism vs. pessimism. For instance, a recent IDC report on the state of worldwide supply relationship management and e-commerce applications could be seen as a glass half-empty or a glass half-full.At first blush, it seems like the world of e-commerce and SRM is doomed. Last year was a lousy one as the market receded by 8% to $5.06 billion. Count with that the fact that the economy was practically stymied, forcing IT executives to forego upgrades and new licensing initiatives.That's at first blush.Dig deeper and you start to see a bit of sunshine. IDC says this: "The U.S. economy is likely to recover by the end of 2003 at a pace that is faster than that of the rest of the world because of pent-up demand for goods and services previously held back during the slump."This is great news for a market that has been slammed. The upside to investing in e-commerce and SRM applications, IDC says, is that they will enable companies to become more responsive by matching front-end customer requirements presented on the Web with the collective power of an interconnected supplier community. IT will do this by employing e-procurement, e-sourcing and supplier-centric technologies, IDC adds.Look deeper into the report and you see even more good news. The big companies like Oracle and PeopleSoft are going to move away from their burdensome behemoth programs to create interoperable software that can be easily implemented and managed. And, the smaller companies can claim their stake of the e-commerce and SRM booty by focusing on vertical markets - healthcare, financial services, automotive manufacturers, you name it.IDC claims all of this will happen because of the mainstream success e-commerce has enjoyed. And new initiatives such as supplier performance management and e-commerce order customization will create unique opportunities to succeed.And finally, look for a boom in data management. Data consolidation will play a huge role in the e-commerce and SRM push. "Category management, catalog aggregation and integrated decision support" will all be center stage in this next phase of doing business online.So, here's to a glass half-full and here's to filling it up in 2004.