Daily Archives: January 30, 2009

The Eightfold Way of B2B 3.0

Last August, I introduced you to B2B 3.0, which promises simplicity for all, in the inaugural Sourcing Innovation Illumination that also explained how B2B 3.0 was the first technology to enable true B2B e-Commerce which consists of simple, fast, low-cost transactions at true market prices. Then, in the follow up Illumination, I explained how B2B 3.0 simplifies B2B for suppliers and that this is revolutionary because simplifying B2B for suppliers enables buyers and lowers costs for all. Then I brought it back to basics and explained how B2B 3.0 elevated e-Procurement to a new level and finally delivered on the promise e-Procurement providers have been failing to deliver on for a decade in the third Illumination. I also penned posts that explain how B2B 3.0 solves the supplier enablement problem, how B2B 3.0 enables an agile supply chain, and how B2B 3.0 is the foundation of Integration-as-a-Service.

In short, I’ve given you a number of Illuminations and posts that describe B2B 3.0 and the benefits it brings but I have not yet given you a post that outlines the essential requirements of a B2B 3.0 technology … until today. In this post I will describe the eight requirements of a B2B 3.0 technology, illustrated with examples from companies that offer B2B 3.0 solutions, and explain why they are important. Just as I gave you the absolute requirements of a true strategic sourcing decision optimization solution in the wiki-paper, these will forever be the absolute requirements of any B2B 3.0 solution.

1 User-Driven
Self service capability, consumer-like usability, and no training required.
Like Coupa‘s On-Demand e-Procurement platform which, based on open-source, was the first platform to truly bring e-Procurement to the masses. (For more information, see Coupa Cabana Cafe Open for Business, The Coupa Sunflower Starts to Blossom, and The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour.)

2 Content-Driven
The solution is structured around the content which is at least as important as the functionality.

Like Vinimaya‘s B2B Search engine that helps companies create “virtual Internet supplier networks” where they can view products AND prices from different suppliers off of the supplier’s own websites side-by-side in real-time. (For more information, see The Next Wave in PCM, The B2B Search Engine, and The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour.)

3 Community-Driven
The solution enables and simplifies collaboration among the user community.

Like Aravo‘s Supplier Information Management platform that centralizes all supplier information in an organization, allows everyone (with rights) in the buying organization and the supplier organization to access and maintain it in a collaborative fashion, and allows buyers to define initiatives, such as sustainability, based on the information. (For more information, see The Arrival, Supplier Information Management, and The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour.)

4 Knowledge-Driven
The solution is capable of self-perpetuating improvements.

Like Apriori‘s Virtual Product Environments that allow users in the buying and supplying organization to collaboratively model and improve the VPE as time progresses to accurately monitor the capabilities of the supplier, market prices for raw materials, and overhead costs. (For more information, see The Introduction and The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour.)

5 Distributed
Users, content, and functionality can be shared across the community which can accomplish tasks in pieces.

Like MFG.com‘s new marketplaces that allow users to locate suppliers, use and refine standard part RFQs, share feedback, and come together to discuss issues in forums. (For more information, see A Community in the Making, Exploding onto the Scene, and The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour.)

6 Internet-Centric
The solution is designed to leverage the connectivity, content and community of the Internet with no redundancies.

Like Arena‘s PLM Solution which is built on the core internet protocols, employs an advanced security model that allows you to control access down to the IP address, supports a wide array of standard data formats, includes an ever-growing library of on-line training about PLM and the Arena solution, and allows buyers and suppliers to interact, securely, through the same platform. (For more information, see The Introduction.)

7 Services Architecture
The solution can be extended, augmented, and integrated with other service-oriented solutions quickly and easily.

Like Co-exprise‘s Direct Sourcing Platform that was built from the ground-up to leverage the interent and all of the inherent capabilities it has to offer, to support and interact with over 1500 file formats, and to plug-in to standard office and manufacturing applications. (For more information, see Kick-Ass Direct PLM Sourcing Part II, Sourcing Lifecycle Management II, and The Sourcing Manaics 2008 Vendor Tour.)

8 Innovative
The technology goes beyond the “same old, same old” and the provider is constantly innovating to make it better.

Like BIQ‘s industry-leading data analytics that goes so far beyond your average “spend analysis” solution that it doesn’t even fit in the same category anymore. As many cubes as you want – which can be built on transaction sets of up to ten million transactions in a few minutes of real-time on your laptop. Dynamic(ally derived) dimensions. Built-in statistical analysis and measures. Schneiderman diagrams and innovative tree-maps. Etc. (For more information, see New Horizons I, New Horizons II, and The Sourcing Manaics 2008 Vendor Tour.)