23 Feb 2011 Welcome to the year 2.0 11
Jason Busch, the founder and executive editor of Spend Matters, is on a world domination tour at the moment and this week, I had the great pleasure of bumping into him together with Peter Smith in a London pub and took the opportunity to share thoughts on the world of purchasing and stuff.
Some of the details of the conversation will no doubt emerge in the course of the next few weeks but there was a theme that I took away that I’m struggling to crystallize into a definite shape but I’m convinced is going to become an important feature of the business landscape this year: B2B 2.0.
This is not the well trodden path that some would have you believe. There are too many different and varied views and too few actual business models out there for anyone to be sure what the B2B extrapolation of Web 2.0 means. And it’s kind of appropriate that the definition of Web 2.0 is nebulous. There are those that equate it with the cloud. But try defining the cloud in exact terms. Defining Web 2.0 is like trying to explain poetry. Is it social media? Is it collaboration and interoperability? It’s none of them and it’s all of them. It’s what you want it to be. It represents the way the internet has changed the world. And there’s another part of Web 2.0 that isn’t explicit but it is what makes it different. It’s free. Twitter is free. Google is free. Facebook is free. Facebook – a free product – worth $50 bn! And not just free in cash terms. Twitter is becoming an icon of freedom in a social sense too.
The music industry business model – always a newsworthy topic – has been turned on its head. The internet has enabled huge scale digital piracy and distribution yet the switched-on writers, performers and producers know that piracy is better than obscurity. The successful artists now and in the future will succeed because they know how to ride the piracy wave.
How will the new free, collaborative, interoperable model fit into the B2B world? Has Tradeshift got it right offering free e-invoicing or will they pioneer and disappear? Will Ariba and OB10 have to start giving it away or will the tried and tested business model prove to be the ones that lasts? Will Basware and the numerous European interoperable invoice networks thrive or will they ultimately be seen as naive idealists? And that’s just e-invoicing. What about e-procurement and ERP?
It’s an interesting topic. I don’t know the answer – I’m not sure I even understand the question! One thing for sure: 2.0 11 is going to be an interesting year.