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In recent decades, companies have spent billions of dollars in personnel, reengineering, and systems to improve internal process and information flows within their own four walls. They’ve also increased productivity by capitalizing on various technological advances, ranging from client-server technology and desktop applications that enhance employee performance to myriad web-based tools that streamline back-office functions and internal communication.
Despite driving major gains, however, these solutions fall down where it matters most—when buying, selling, or exchanging cash with other businesses. And with 80 percent of POs, invoices, and other business transactions still taking place offline(1)—via paper-based, labor-intensive processes that cost companies $650 billion per year(2) in missed sales opportunities, high operating and supply chain costs, and slow cash flow cycles—it’s clear that plenty of room for improvement still exists.
The Connectivity Revolution
Dramatic changes in how technology is delivered, accessed, and used have given rise to another major shift, one that’s apparent in our personal lives: we’re more connected than ever before. We can tap into limitless personal networks to share ideas and opinions, research decisions, and make purchases without leaving the comfort of our own homes.
Not surprisingly, this connectivity revolution is gradually moving from the living room to the boardroom, as more companies seek ways to collaborate with their customers and trading partners with the same ease they experience in their personal lives. The result is a major new trend that’s changing the face of business: the networked economy, or what McKinsey calls “the networked enterprise.”(3) And sellers and buyers who have adopted this trend early are realizing huge benefits.
Embracing the Networked Economy: What’s In It for You?
So exactly what types of results can you expect from becoming a networked enterprise? And among the dizzying array of technologies available, which ones will impact your business the most?
As a growing body of research indicates, the rewards for taking action are compelling. For example, McKinsey reports that networked enterprises are 50 percent more likely to experience higher sales and profit margins, gain market share, and be market leaders.(4) And while every technology differs in the benefits it offers, three top contenders deserve special attention for the payoff they deliver: cloud computing, social business, and enterprise mobility. Click on the links below to find out more information about each one of them.
1 Source: Celent Communications
2 Source: Basex Research
3 McKinsey & Company, “The Rise of the Networked Enterprise: Web 2.0 Finds Its Payday,” survey of 4,394 executives, December 2010
4 McKinsey, “The Rise of the Networked Enterprise”
5 Collaborative Commerce for Dummies, Ariba Special Edition, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2011
6 Reuters.com, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/27/uk-socialmedia-online-poll-idUSLNE82Q02120120327, 27 March 2012
7 Sources: www.thinkmonsters.com, “Five Benefits of Social Media for Businesses Beyond Sales Numbers,” 11 May 2012; Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action cited at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/02/14/12-major-benefits-of-the-social-media-revolution/
8 Deloitte Development LLC report, “Tech Trends 2012: Elevate IT for Digital Business,” 2012
9 Shehryar Khan, Founder and former CEO, Übermind, Inc., quoted in Deloitte, “Tech Trends 2012”
10 Deloitte, “Tech Trends 2012”