Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Clouds, big data, smart assets, and the hierarchy of business to business needs

This week's primary topic, "Analyzing the External Strategic Environment and Evaluating Industry Dynamics", specifically the listed reading from Bughin, Chui, and Manyika (2010), reminded me of a great article written by  both Seth Godin on  May 29th.  Bughin, Chui, and Manyika identified 10 trends that were profoundly reshaping strategy across a wide swath of many industries:
  1. Distributed cocreation moves into the mainstream
  2. Making the network the organization
  3. Collaboration at scale
  4. The growing 'Internet of Things'
  5. Experimentation and big data
  6. Wiring for a sustainable world
  7. Imagining anything as a service
  8. The age of multisided business model
  9. Innovating from the bottom of the pyramid
  10. Producing public good on the grid
They went on to discuss each of these trends in more detail, listed examples, and provided pros/cons.

To dovetail with the said innovative trends above, Seth Godin, an American entrepreneur, author and public speaker, recently blogged relative to the hierarchy of needs for business-to-business services. 
  1. Avoiding risk
  2. Avoiding hassle
  3. Gaining praise
  4. Gaining power
  5. Having fun
  6. Making a profit
Godin stated that in most companies, in order for a business to buy from another, at least on of these needs need to be met. Likewise, the order of needs starts with #1 and increment through to #6.

Excluding #5, I agree with Godin on each item and their order. These needs and trends are what businesses and individuals look for when considering moving to a newer technology, participating in online communities, and using SaaS. I disagree with #5, as "fun" isn't necessarily a prerequisite for businesses to do business with one another.

As an example, under "The growing 'Internet of Things'" (#4 of the trends), Bughin, Chui, and Manyika discussed how the adoption of RFID and related technologies have turned many industries on their ear and expanded the frontiers of automation. They go on to discuss how automation lowers the risks, accuracy, and hassle of current business models and have allowed industries (like the auto insurers in Europe and the US) to gain praise and power by leveraging a new pricing models that utilize the new technology, ultimately leading to increased revenue and profits.

The analysis of the external strategic environment and evaluation industry dynamics presents many different complexities that businesses must be aware of prior to decision making. As Godin identified above, the hierarchy of needs is only one aspect of many different data points for such decision. Looking into the next five to 10 years, are there other needs or trends that may be emerging that will impact the strategy of industries and services around the world?


Bughin, Chui, and Manyika (Aug. 2010) "Clouds, Big Data, and Smart Assets: Ten Tech-Enabled Business Trends to Watch". McKinsey Quarterly. SKIM

Godin, S. (2012). "A hierarchy of business to business needs". Retrieved 6/1/2012 from:


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