Monday, August 11, 2003

B2B Getting IT Together
Ideas for transforming organizations and groups into thriving communities.

Business to business as a concept has been around since the beginning of civilization. From the time the human race realized that it could become more productive as an organized unit. The only real philosophical debate has been how to get unlike ideas organized within like ideas? Typically, in history, people have the tendency to eliminate those ideas or individuals that differ. This is where the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’ originated. The premise is that groups stand a better chance for survival, however, differences of opinion often tear away at the group effort. This is evident in every area one would seek out to find it or even avoid it. This fact created a new group of analytics seeking to uncover why this phenomenon occurred and from this evolved yet another group which, based on findings sought to locate solutions to solve it. Over time these groups grew and expanded to get us closer to the goal. This is how groups become communities; communities become organizations, organizations become corporations, and back again.

Intellectually, it is comprehensive that this cycle is organic in nature and effective in practice. Emotionally, however, it is also evident that the turmoil is real and must become harmonious at some point to flourish. Based on the laws of physics, we know that this can happen or that resolution is a part of the quest. When and where; why and how may often prove mysterious or even questionable but the system of ecology is a fundamental one existing throughout nature. The bottom line on solving the controversy is simply a question of information exchange and time to assimilate it. Harmony seeks itself just as like attracts like. Furthermore, opposites will attract for the purpose of expanding perspective beyond one point of view. The key is to let needs and wants be known openly (enable communication) and not to force things together yet instead allow for them to come together naturally and instinctively.

In other words, B2B is not something to fear, avoid, or resist moreover it is a puzzle wherein each piece must find the appropriate fit with which to partner.

Once this happens, it will continue to happen provided this union is harmonious, and goals are not only established but also met and expanded upon. In this sense we may also realize that success isn’t so much about numbers but about getting IT right. That is asking the right questions and getting the correct answers. IT is work to do so and is often an intricate and complex undertaking but a necessary one that proves it’s own value.

Understanding this is why IT developments are all but synonymous with B2B efforts these days. The reason being, because IT simplifies the workload and demands so that no one involved becomes exhausted in areas that are necessary to standardize. In other words IT fills the voids and enables the tasks at hand to become satisfied with results as readily as possible. IT remains a step by step process but one that ideally, may become pleasurable to undertake. The great thing is that it continues to prompt change, growth, and new ideas while maintaining its original form and purpose.

The best way incorporate B2B when the time is right, is to express this growing interested through communication and criteria, then collect the responses, and begin cultivating ideas which develop ways that offerings, products, and services may serve to benefit growth through exchange.

Once this is accomplished then structuring IT within these solutions becomes more intuitive and clearer to implement. The ideal idea is to co-exist independently rather than co-dependently.

Defining “when the time is right”, when the possibilities have been exhausted internally and information collection and analysis has peaked to the point that it begins to become repetitive. This is one good definitive but each business, department, organization, or individual must likewise establish additional insight case by case based on open-source database collections and mining finds to the point of reasonable conclusion for itself.

Another big indicator would be the desire or urge to do so, this method is often the intuitive or instinctive approach but may be equally successful and rewarding as the overt analytical one. Communication, we now know may be spoken or unspoken but it serves none the less to further ideas. In my mind both styles are relevant and have a place, as do its counter parts, the key is to keep IT available, active, and open.

Chronicling B2B these days can be very confusing. B2B is a necessary thing, but like musicals when they are good they are very, very good and when they are bad they are horrid! I have been building up to this article since 12-2002 researching and collecting articles discussing the subject of B2B from an IT perspective. After all in order for IT developments to assist B2B IT must have a clear understanding of what role it plays. When B2B fluctuates so does the industry which, caters to its functions.

What are some B2B IT goals? Real time transactions, real time transaction management, communication, data retrieval, data storage, data mining, data exchanges, data security, eCommerce, and web services fundamentally.

The more “Creative Aspects” of IT and B2B IT sort of have to wait there turns architecturally speaking. That is to say, “You have to build it before you can paint it”. It’s a process of completion like a manufacturing assembly line.

B2B IT developers are in the position of waiting for B2B to define its own needs or move ahead instinctively and create what will definitely be required then double back and illustrate its value to businesses prepared for the guided tour.

Either way IT is still important for businesses and developers to stay aware because one may learn from what went wrong as well as what worked with equal benefit.

Advice, it is a good idea to consider that what is real for one person, company, or industry may not be a reality for anything else around it. Refer back to the mantra of “if you don’t know IT, find out about IT”. This is better than losing on a good idea because of bad timing. Something I have learned by observing business news over the past few years.

In the areas where B2B has been established and responsive in the IT development community some of the primary concerns expressed were to save time where integration’s are concerned, to conserve spending where purchases are concerned, and finally to insure quality prior to implementing or integrating technologies. This gives developers more than it may seem in terms of demand information for the supplier. It is in this way that XML began its move into B2B solutions.

Resources for B2B news, discussion, and information may be found intermittently throughout Business and IT trades magazines and consistently in B2B forums and newsletters like:,, and

A good article for explaining web services and there intended role in B2B IT developments Entitled “Web Services: The Next Battleground in the War for Software Mind Share” found at:

End users for software are also electing to purchase CD software to be maintained and configured by in-house IT developer staff. Are all software developers offering this service? No, one of the reasons being is that web based interface is an alternative method for cost effective IT developments and security issues not withstanding are on the rise as well. The idea is to make IT solutions globally available and secure be it CD Software, Downloadable software from a developer web site, Custom solutions design, or web based interface.

Where B2B is concerned company size and activity are main areas where best results vary case by case. As the market grows globally for the largest corporations, it will be likely that some B2B situations will incorporate a collection of all types of solutions for different requirements.

Interested in more information on what it takes outside of technology? A good article I found, “Beyond Technology: What does it take to Build and manage a Collaborative Value Chain?” Found at:

Finally another really good article I found which discusses how to recover from a failed mission and lessons learned in the process which is also a good read for those looking to get started called,”B2B comes back on a smaller scale.” Found at:

Any thoughts or feedback let me know.


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