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New IDC Manufacturing Insights Report Evaluates Progression of Commerce Networks for Manufacturers

Rise of 3rd Platform technologies has created optimal environment for truly collaborative commerce networks

IDC Manufacturing Insights has announced a new report, Business Strategy: The Progression Toward Collaborative Commerce Networks in Manufacturing (Doc #MI246973), that evaluates the progression of commerce networks for manufacturers from traditional point-to-point communications to collaborative commerce networks that support many-to-many interactions among manufacturers and their trading partners. This new report establishes the context for commerce networks in manufacturing companies' procurement and sourcing efforts and offers essential guidance for moving through the phases of commerce network participation.

Commerce networks have assisted manufacturers in procuring direct and indirect materials for more than 15 years. Over this time, commerce networks have progressed from largely EDI-based, point-to-point data transmission, to richly interactive hubs for a manufacturer and its suppliers and partners to share structured and unstructured data. Today, commerce networks support near-real-time communication and drive efficiency gains throughout manufacturing supply chains. The industry is on the precipice of a significant transformation, a transformation that leverages all the 3rd Platform technologies (cloud, social, mobile, and big data) and moves manufacturers toward true "collaboration" with their business networks. The core questions manufacturers must address are what expanded role they want commerce networks to play in their sourcing processes and how can they participate successfully in these commerce networks.

The ultimate goal of these commerce networks and modernized B2B infrastructures is to support the seamless many-to-many interactions that run throughout a supply chain. Commerce networks enable manufacturers, partners, suppliers, and customers to communicate, collaborate, transact, and optimize their interactions and operations. Manufacturers are on a path to reach this goal, but as with all transformations, much work still needs to be done.

Key findings from the new report include:

  • As the 2014 Manufacturing Commerce Strategies Top 10 Trends (#MI245067) state, manufacturing sees the dawn of "collaborative commerce networks" that include M2M data acquisition, rich data interchange, process orchestration, and collaboration among all trading partners.
  • 3rd Platform technologies such as cloud, big data/analytics, social, and mobile finally enable the vision of collaborative commerce networks. Manufacturers are increasing their adoption of these technologies according to our recent 2013 Vertical IT and Communications Survey.
  • Successful participation in collaborative commerce networks requires manufacturers and their trading partners to modernize aging B2B commerce infrastructures.
  • Manufacturers can derive the greatest value from collaborative commerce networks by maximizing partner participation and optimizing their underlying B2B commerce business processes.
  • Understanding the progression of commerce networks will help manufacturers identify their current participation level and explore the steps to take to move toward collaborative commerce network involvement.

The new report outlines the four phases through which commerce networks have moved over the past 15 years, including Traditional, Spontaneous, Enabled, and Collaborative. The report also identifies the ways participants interact and visualizes how 3rd Platform technologies have laid the groundwork for the emergence of collaborative commerce networks, guiding readers through an exploration of the different phases of commerce networks and their underlying technology requirements. Finally, the new report includes essential guidance for manufacturers that want to evolve their participation from one phase of commerce networks to the next.

"Our goal is to help manufacturers understand what has changed with commerce networks in the past 15 years and emphasize why now is the right time to increase participation in these networks," said Heather Ashton, Research Manager, Manufacturing Commerce Strategies for IDC Manufacturing Insights. "The rise of the 3rd Platform technologies, namely cloud, mobile, social, and big data analytics, has created the optimal environment for truly collaborative commerce networks to develop. This new report will help manufacturers better assess their current level of participation in commerce networks and understand the necessary steps to progress toward enabled and collaborative commerce network involvement."

According to IDC Manufacturing Insights, the time for commerce network participation is now. The actions that manufacturers take will depend largely on where they are in their current level of commerce network adoption. The new report offers manufacturers a list of suggestions for moving from one phase of commerce networks to the next. IDC Manufacturing Insights encourages manufacturers to assess their current state by reviewing the four phases and their characteristics and then consider the essential guidance offered in this new report to successfully evolve through the process.