Upside on B2B

Upside on B2B: Phase II:

A key challenge for B-to-Bs in this new phase will be integration at different levels. Most of the action has been in business-to-employee (B-to-E), knowledge management, collaboration, and data integration. But B-to-B is also a fertile area for process integration, which focuses on better communication with partners, customers, and suppliers. Companies like I2 Technologies, Oracle, and SAP AG are now offering end-to-end buying and selling to marketplaces and collaboration capabilities. Their ultimate goal is to figure out the demand and then make it so easy that, by simply pushing a few buttons, a company could produce manufacturing instructions, sourcing instructions, and pricing.

This so-called collaborative product commerce (CPC) enables all potential partners in the value chain to receive the right information at the right time, so that they can make more educated decisions and reduce costs and time to market. With CPC, the long-held hope of creating communities of trading partners that, through B-to-B business processes, are able to collaborate on process design, inventory, forecasting, insurance, procurement, and other business functions is becoming increasingly real.

Product Vision: Design-the-Box

A commentary on product design by Jim Highsmith (via Joel on Software):

One practice that I’ve found effective in getting teams to think about a product vision is the Design-the-Box exercise (developed originally by colleague Bill Shakelford). This exercise is great to open up a session to initiate a project. In this exercise the entire team, including users, breaks up into groups of four to six (this works best with cross-functional participation). The team makes the assumption that the product will be sold in a shrink-wrapped box, and their task is to design the product box front and back. This involves coming up with a product name, a graphic, three to four key bullet points on the front to “sell” the product, a detailed feature description on the back, and operating requirements.

It’s an exercise we need to do with Emergic.

Linux and Laptops

Rob Landley: It’s the laptop, stupid!: “If Linux wants to take over the desktop market from Microsoft, it has to focus on laptops. The reason for this is that within a few years, the desktop market is going to dry up and blow away.”

An interesting viewpoint. I myself use a 2-year-old Laptop but as a Thin Client connected to a Thick Server. I switched to the TC with Linux a few days ago. So far, so good! But for the mass market, I still think laptops may be too expensive. The key is the USD 100 pricepoint. If laptops (new or old) can hit that mark, it will open up the enterprise mass market.