As per Part I, over seven years ago, Sourcing Innovation published Introducing B2B 3.0 and Simplicity for All, which is available as a free download, to help educate you on the next generation of B2B and prepare you for what comes next. The expectation was that, by now, we would be awash in B2B 3.0 (Business to Business 3.0), which was simply defined as the first generation of technology that actually puts business users on the same footing as consumers, but are we?
In Parts I and II we discussed the history of B2B 1.0 and B2B 2.0 in order to conclude that, neither B2B 1.0 and 2.0 was not enough. B2B 1.0 launched the internet era, but proved that connectivity, and even basic functionality, is useless without content (that helped buyers find what they needed and sellers provided what buyers needed) and community (as the right parties need to come together). B2B 2.0 brought the internet era to the mid-sized business, but ultimately proved that creating private networks and marketplaces didn’t add anything because while redundancy in data centres is good, network redundancy is bad and only increases costs, not value.
That’s why we need B2B 3.0 but is it? First we need to discuss B2C 3.0.
B2C 3.0, which was kicked-off by sites like Froogle (Google Product Search), PriceGrabber, and PriceWatch, allowed consumers to search and browse product listings from multiple sites. TechRepublic, CraigsList, and ComputerShopper provided the community for these consumers to discuss providers and products and find what they wanted at the price they wanted. And C2C 3.0 sites like MySpace, FaceBook, and Twitter connect more users than ever before.
B2B 3.0 is the business equivalent. It’s the next generation of B2B that adds content, community, and open-connectivity to B2B platforms. More specifically, open connectivity that is free to all to access, open community that allows all buyers and sellers to come together though dynamically created virtual networks on an open, shared, secure, and decryption-supporting API to conduct business as needed, and the depth of content required to support complex direct purchases. It’s what B2B 2.0 should have been, but without the unnecessary redundancy and the necessary cost.
B2B 3.0 is an open platform enabled by:
- web services
like Google Maps that allows supply chains to be plotted
- intelligent agents
that can automatically place re-orders and identify market data of interest to the buyer or supplier
that works over multiple catalogs, on multiple sites, accessed using multiple EDI, (c)XML, or other standard protocols
- real-time collaboration
instant messaging, (visual) VOIP, screen sharing, and collaborative document authoring
- semantic technology
that can identify news stories and reports of interest
to normalize data from hundreds (or thousands) of file and data formats into a common taxonomy
that can process, and make sense, of all of the information streams and present meaningful information and actionable insight
as a good process is an effective and efficient process
But are we there yet? To be continued …