Business Technology: First Steps Toward A New Business Model - InformationWeek
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Business Technology: First Steps Toward A New Business Model

Last week, I proposed a new model for how business-technology managers and executives can try to model a global architecture that's not only aligned with business objectives but is capable of enhancing existing ones and can help create new ones (Jan. 13, p. 68; I suggested that the three core elements of such a plan should be global-supply management on the supplier and partner side; collaborative business based in the center and actively radiating outward to suppliers, suppliers' suppliers, partners, customers, and customers' customers; and real-time business cutting across all facets of this model but focused particularly on customers, prospects, and the rapidly shifting feelings and desires of the market. More important, I asked for your feedback on this proposal: Does it work for you? Why or why not? What's a better idea? Is the existing SCM-ERP-CRM model ready to be replaced? Or are all these acronyms merely so much sound and fury, signifying nothing?

You sent in a huge number of replies -- most of them thoughtful and insightful, some brilliant, and some ... well, perhaps I didn't phrase my question clearly enough. And I promised I'd select the three that I felt were the most thoughtful, and the thinkers behind those ideas would receive a complimentary registration to our Spring Conference, March 2 to 5, in Amelia Island, Fla. ( The three winning entries are posted at, and some excellent runners-up are at Thanks to everyone who took the time to share her or his ideas. Here are some highlights from the winners (in alphabetical order).

"The terror suspect who stabbed to death a police officer in Manchester is alleged to be a 'key' al-Qa'ida member who was wanted by MI5 for plotting chemical attacks in Britain," London's Independent reports. "The 27-year-old suspect, who was not handcuffed, is accused of stabbing Detective Constable Stephen Oake, 40, after he broke free from a uniformed officer and grabbed a knife in the kitchen."

-- From "Best of the Web Today" on Opinion, Jan. 16

From Ravi Athalye, VP of technology at Vector Consulting: "Unless we come to real agreements on standards and processes, getting business to collaborate and exchange information in real time will continue to remain the elusive mirage it is today. ... While the lure of Web services remains attractive, it has yet to fulfill its promise of an universal framework that enables seamless exchange of information for businesses of all sizes. ... Collaborative and real-time business will make sense only when the vision of NNED2 (no need to enter data twice) is truly realized without the complicated middleware plumbing that ties together today's three cornerstones. However, before we even get technology involved, let's make sure that our business processes and user attitudes are in tune with the new vision."

From Mitch Damon, planning systems manager at Agrilink Foods: "I would ... focus on the need for real-time analytics not only of the market demand and the needs of the customer but also of the market in which the demand occurs and the supplies and advances soon to become available. With all the data out in the public domain and within a supply web's internal systems, it becomes increasingly difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff, leaving most executives with either delayed response to accurate data or an immediate reaction to 'the feel' of the market."

And from John Lillard of Wachovia: "Rather than cornerstones, I would build my business on a floating platform. ... A key plank is the institution's ability to PLAN and be able to proactively react to the changing market. We have used terms like architecture and strategy and have forgotten how to effectively plan. Planners (sometimes called visionaries) may be the most important plank in the platform."

If you find these excerpts intriguing, please be sure to read the complete ideas at the URLs above, and as we receive new ideas, we'll continue posting them on the site. And we look forward to seeing Ravi, Mitch, and John in Amelia Island.

Bob Evans
Editor in Chief

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