Daily Archives: September 8, 2009

Fourteen Hundred and Seventy Two Posts Later …

… and Sourcing Innovation crosses the 1,000,000 word mark!

That’s right, after a mere three years and three months, Sourcing Innovation crossed the 1,000,000 word mark yesterday and became only the second supply management blog to reach that point. Not even e-Sourcing Forum and Supply Excellence, the only other blogs that have been publishing as long and (almost) as regularly, have come close to reaching this mark.

Blog Live (Y-M-D) Posts (Approx) * Words (Approx) *
Spend Matters 2004-11-30 3,265 1,180,354
Sourcing Innovation 2006-06-09 1,472 1,000,337
e-Sourcing Forum 2005-08-30 1,013 386,369
Supply Excellence 2006-04-30 737 234,292

To put this in perspective, the entire Harry Potter series (all seven books) only contains 1,090,739 words. This says that, in a little over three years, on this blog alone, I’ve provided you more free content than J. K. Rowling published in the Harry Potter series over the span of a decade. And let me repeat the phrase “on this blog alone” because I’ve also (co-)authored almost the entire e-Sourcing Wiki (which contains over 30 distinct wiki-papers consisting of over 229,160 words), contributed over 90 guest posts to various blogs and e-publications (some of which are indexed in this post and this post and total over 86,000 words), authored a number of Illuminations and white-papers (which collectively contain over 21,050 words) and co-authored and edited the e-Sourcing Handbook (which is approximately 91,500 words). (If you add it all up, that’s over 1,427,700 words!)

And, dear marketer, that’s one of the many reasons why your search traffic comes here.

*Methodology: Since each blog uses a standard blog package that utilizes common page structures, utilizing the “archive” URL format by day, I wrote a script that downloaded each day and extracted each unique URL using the “post” URL format (over time). It then downloaded each post page, extracted the post, saved it as text, and ran it through a word counter. (Random) Errors or inconsistencies in page generation (caused by a stray special character, etc.) could have prevented some posts from being extracted or properly parsed, but my manual checks satisfied me that over 95% of posts were captured and properly parsed, so the table is at least relatively accurate.

e-Leaders Speak: Gary Hare of Vinimaya on “B2B e-Commerce: Are We Starting To Get It Right?”

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Today’s guest post is from Gary Hare of Vinimaya. (e-mail Gary)

Being successful at B2B e-Commerce is hard for both buyers and suppliers! Unfortunately, despite the hype, there are more stories of failure than success out there. Why haven’t we made more progress? Who’s to blame? These are valid questions, but there is one question that, if we can answer it, might hold the key to success.

Why has Consumer e-Commerce adoption blown past B2B e-Commerce?

Speaking as someone who has been in B2B e-Commerce since the days EDI was considered a “killer app“, and acknowledging that are some “complexities” in B2B that don’t exist in the consumer world, I am going to try to answer this question by noting three things that consumer e-Commerce does better than B2B e-Commerce:

  1. Usability – How many clicks and screens does it take to search for an item and place an order in SAP SRM? I don’t know exactly, but I do know it’s a lot more than ordering from Amazon! For years, B2B was all about how much functionality can we jam into a screen … the problem being you use 10% of the functionality 90% of the time. Consumer sites rightly focus on that 10%.
  2. Content – In the consumer world, all the content is available right on the web. You don’t have to join a supplier network or get a catalog file loaded to place an order. Although many B2B suppliers have invested heavily in their web sites, the majority have not, at least when you take into account the total number of suppliers. There are many reasons for this, some valid (e-Procurement system integration issues), some not so valid (don’t see the ROI).
  3. Technology – Ever hear the terms mash-up, widgets, AJAX, intelligent agents, REST, meta-search, RSS and JSON in the context of B2B technology? You probably hear terms like database, SQL, JDBC and HTML more often. The previously mentioned terms (e.g. mash-up, widgets, etc.) are all commonly used Web 2.0 technologies and protocols that make up the consumer e-Commerce “stack”. Note that they don’t replace the B2B technologies (e.g. database, SQL, etc.), but enhance their capabilities by providing an abstraction layer on top of them to make them more “web sensitive”, which makes it easier to do things like federated search and secure content syndication, without dedicated connections, using only the Web “as is”.

So, at the end of the day, consumer e-Commerce has simplified the online buying process by combining great usability with robust, easily available content; easily accessed via “web sensitive” technologies.

Now here’s the good news. B2B now gets it! You’ve been hearing for years about B2B providers who are “consumerizing” the B2B user experience (e.g. #1). Every day, more and more suppliers make their content available on the Web, and there are now providers out there who can build and even host B2B websites for as little as $5,000 a year (e.g. #2).

And what is enabling these changes is the technology (#3). As more and more B2B providers innovate and adapt consumer e-Commerce technologies to their B2B problems, B2B e-Commerce adoption will ultimately take off just like consumer e-Commerce did in the early 2000’s! To ensure this happens, it is important for users to engage these innovative providers, versus signing up for the same old solution from the same old provider (a wise man once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results“).

I guess the question now becomes, which of these innovative providers is going to be the eBay / Amazon / Google / etc. of the B2B world?

Thanks, Gary!