The Enterprise Value Chain Is Broken
This article first appeared in CustomerThink.
Enterprise businesses across all industries have one thing in common: connection. No business today exists in isolation. Every organization works with dozens, if not hundreds, of vendors and an even larger number of customers.
In this interconnected world, one business’s output is another’s input, creating an endless stream of value across entire industries and ecosystems. But is this exchange of value working as it should? Unfortunately not. Recent events have proven that the enterprise value chain is broken, and a solution is desperately needed.
The supply shock that started with the discovery of COVID-19 and continued with events like the Suez Canal crisis exposed vulnerabilities in the production strategies and supply chains of organizations around the world. In 2020, over 75% of companies experienced supply chain disruptions. That is not a number to be ignored.
It’s more clear than ever before that businesses have to work together to ensure they are creating a continuous flow of value from suppliers to buyers across industries and continents. In order to be successful, businesses can’t do it all alone.
The reason for the disconnect between suppliers and buyers is complex and multifaceted, but one of the main drivers comes down to ineffective technology. For decades, enterprise software has been built to serve a single enterprise — not to bring suppliers and buyers together to focus on the creation and delivery of value. If a supplier were to stop using a CRM or customer analytics platform, their customers would have no idea. Traditional tools offer little to no value to the very customers they were built to manage.
Furthermore, the software created to facilitate business relationships traditionally focuses on the side effects of value — user activity, service utilization, product analytics, and the like — and does nothing to measure true impact. Value is a thing. It can and should be defined, managed and measured.
Why hasn’t this issue already been solved? For one, the architecture needed for shared technology didn’t exist before now. For another, the act of tracking, measuring and proving value is hard. In order to prioritize value creation in any type of business relationship, the first step is understanding the outcomes each side is looking to achieve — something that is easier said than done when software offers no formal way to document and collaborate on goals and objectives in a shared capacity.
Even if there is a means to establish alignment at the beginning of a business relationship, traditional software provides no way to track the progression of value over time or help organizations prove they’ve delivered on the promises made. Through digital transformation, virtually every product, physical or digital, has the potential to be instrumented as a data source. Yet, regardless of tech stack, many businesses find the volume, velocity and variety of data generated from these endpoints difficult to turn into actionable insights. The problem is not due to an absence of data but rather an inability to gather data from multiple sources in a single location to establish performance metrics. Without this, proof of value is just out of reach.
To bridge this gap, we need a network architecture, not B2B SaaS, that centers on value. It’s time for the next generation of business technology.