Having just passed the halfway point for 2012, I thought I would provide a recap of the top EDInomics posts I have written this year. The ranking is based upon information gathered from Google Analytics about end-user visits to new posts published in 2012.
#1 We Need a Social Graph for the Supply Chain – One of the coolest things Facebook has done is to develop a social graph. The social graph shows the linkages and relationships between all the individual users on a social network. If you understand the idea of Six Degrees of Separation then you have a general framework for a social graph. Unfortunately, we don’t have such a thing in the business world. No one has modeled the relationships between how companies interact with other companies upstream and downstream in the supply chain.
#2 Circles for B2B – One of the features I like most about Google+ is the concept of circles. Unfortunately, although millions of people have joined Google+ the activity levels are still very low as compared to other social networks. Even though the concept of circles has not been successful in the consumer space, I think there is a great applicability for the concept in the Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce sector. If companies segmented their various business partners into “circles,” it would then be much easier to apply policies to govern the business processes and service levels for each group.
#3 Can Anyone Dethrone Apple from its #1 Ranking in the Supply Chain Top 25? – Apple was ranked #1 on the Top 25 list for the fifth year in a row. This should not be surprising given Apple’s product innovation, brand strength and supply chain prowess. But it does beg the question – Can anyone dethrone Apple from its position atop the rankings? Even the likes of P+G, Walmart, Dell and Cisco, each long admired for their supply chain excellence, seem unable to overcome Apple’s lead.
#4 ERP is Incomplete – When most people think about the business applications that manage processes such as forecasting, manufacturing, logistics and accounting they think of ERP. But as the level of outsourcing in the supply chain has increased, more and more of these business processes are being performed outside the four walls of a company – and outside the purview of traditional ERP applications.
#5 My New Book on B2B e-Commerce – Wait…did I just say a book about B2B e-Commerce? You might be thinking – who in their right mind is going to devote a few hours to read a 300-page book on B2B? So why did I write it? Because the world needs to know how B2B is helping to save the planet of course! B2B e-commerce technologies are playing a critical role in solving some of the world’s most challenging problems.
#6 Trading Partner On-Boarding – The Project that Never Ends – In 1882, Spaniards in Barcelona began construction on the large Roman Catholic Church commonly known as the Sagrada Familia. But it was only two years ago in 2010 that Sagrada Familia reached the midway point in its construction. Some describe the Barcelona church as the project that will never end. Those of us in the B2B e-commerce sector can relate to the construction crews working on Sagrada Familia. Unfortunately, anyone involved with a trading partner on-boarding project knows all too well the concept of a never ending project.
#7 34 of the Top 50 US Companies Have Made Strategic Investments in B2B Integration – You may be surprised to learn that 34 of the Fortune 50 have made strategic investments in B2B integration technologies over the past 15 years. Some of these companies have built their own B2B integration products such as FedEx has done with its EDI services. Others have purchased an equity stake in a B2B integration company such as Ford’s original investment in Covisint. While a handful of others have divested their interests in B2B integration products to another company.
#8 Why Would You Use a Cloud Service Brokerage? – The advent of cloud computing has led to a number of new, innovative business models being introduced to the B2B integration sector. One of the most interesting new concepts is the Cloud Service Brokerage. The term is widely misunderstood, but the concept is actually quite simple. I have found the best way to understand the value of a Cloud Service Brokerage is to discuss what life would be like without one.
#9 What is an Integration Platform as a Service? – I think it is fair to say that iPaaS is one of the most confusing terms in the cloud computing sector. In my conversations with customers, vendors, journalists and analysts in the B2B integration sector I have found that very few people understand the concept of iPaaS. But the idea behind iPaaS is actually quite simple.
#10 The Lost Decade of B2B e-Commerce – As we look back on the pattern of investment activity in B2B e-commerce between 2000 and 2010, I think we can safely declare that there was a Lost Decade. During these 10 years there were numerous attempts to revolutionize various industries with new B2B technologies – e-marketplaces; XML; Global Data Synchronization; Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment – just to name a few. However, most of these initiatives met with only modest levels of success.