Ever find yourself telling some one that his or her great idea is, well, a great idea, but not a new idea? And while it isn't a new idea, maybe it is a great time to pursue it? Remember the rise of the ASP? Very interesting idea at the time, but one that withered with the dot-com community. Yet the notion of on-demand, pay-for-only-what-you-use software is alive and kicking again now that customers are demanding (and getting) new levels of flexibility from their software vendors. And while Salesforce.com didn't wither with the rest of the dot-coms, its highly successful IPO is sure to bring even more attention to the on-demand, hosted application model.
Here's another not-so-new-idea that's emerging in a different time--one that has a great chance of success for those who learned lessons from the failures of the past. Remember online trading hubs, business-to-business marketplaces and exchanges such as E-Steel and Covisint that were designed to connect buyers and sellers and provide a platform for transactions between them? These days, the core of these kinds of communities isn't vendors or service providers but large, powerful customers who are setting standards for business processes and technologies. It's a phenomenon we've been writing about over the past year or so and a core theme of InformationWeek's Fall conference.
It's something that renowned business strategist James Champy advances in an upcoming article in Optimize. He says companies such as Dell and Wal-Mart are building "business-service platforms" for interacting with their suppliers. A second generation of these kinds of hubs, he predicts, will provide a place for competitors to do business. Sound familiar? Perhaps a good idea's time is finally coming.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.