Wall Street may lose interest in e-business, but the auto industry’s largest systems integrators shouldn’t.

t’s not just another fad and it provides major opportunities for systems integrators, according to a report issued this week in Traverse City by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and the University of Michigan Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation. The study is titled Automotive System Integrators: Spiders or flies in the e-Business web?”

In all, 27 companies participated, including the five largest global automakers and all of the top Tier 1 suppliers, with the exception of Magna International Inc.

The study found that the “transparency” created by e-business with regard to product development may help OEMs regain control of the supply chain. Likewise, it creates great challenges, as systems integrators will struggle to decide what information should be shared and what should be shielded from their customers and potential competitors, says Antonio Benecchi, associate partner of Roland Berger North America.

“A connection with more of your proprietary information is out there, and your product is at risk of becoming a commodity faster than it normally would,” Mr. Benecchi says. “The question is how to protect your intellectual property.”