In this article I would like to develop an overview about the IT technologies, which are available and are on the way to be introduced in our day to day businesses. We will show the necessity and the possibilities to introduce this IT solutions in all businesses and its positive impact. Than we will show, how the businesses will change with this IT technologies and derive out of this the risks, which will rise, for businesses, which deny this implementation of IT technologies.
Let us follow the structure in the above shown picture.
First, we should look, if we use the IT elements, which exists already since years, but are further developing, sufficient and adjust our businesses accordingly. Than we should discuss the opportunities, which grow with the new technologies and last but not least, we will discuss, what new business models are possible now. This should make us think about our placement in the business structure and give us the possibilities to decide, if we have to change our business model or if it is still stable.
1. Add-ons to our present business models
Let us go step by step through the structure, given in the picture in the introduction. There is first the discussion about ERP systems. Like the name is saying: Enterprise resource planning system. No enterprise can exist without making a reliable resource planning. No customer order can be confirmed, if I have not checked the availability of the needed resources.
Irrespective of whether the company is a multi-national, multimillion-dollar organization, non-profit, or a small company with single digit million turnover, the goal of system selection is to source a system that can provide functionality for all of the business processes; that will get complete user acceptance; management approval and, most importantly, can provide significant return on investment for the shareholders.
Since the mid-1970s, when there was widespread introduction of computer packages into leading companies to assist in material requirements planning, software companies have striven, and for the most part succeeded, to create packages that assist in all aspects of running a business from manufacturing; supply chain management; human resources; through to financials. This led to the evolution of ERP Systems.
Today you have a big choice of different ERP systems and you can even decide to let them run in a cloud (hosted by a cloud provider), if you use open source software or licensed. With this wide field of opportunities, it is even for small and medium size companies possible, to use a professional ERP system. Especially in B2B businesses and in retail businesses, it is required by the customers, to work with proper ERP. It is affordable now for everybody.
Than we come to social medias. Meanwhile it is absolute necessary for a company, to be present in social networks. I am still struggling, in which networks it is necessary to be present an in which you can allow you, not to be active. Let us go to some statistics:
Working with this statistics, we have also to consider, in which regions we are looking for contacts.
Even if WatsApp has the most user, you will be not very successful, if you do not have WeChat in China.
We must be aware, how large the community, using social media already is. To become successful, we can not deny the social medias
A company should at least have a profile in the most important social medias. For some B2B customers it may be not to important for their customers, but is important, to develop its employer branding.
Than let us come to the EDI issue. Keying in data manually is one of the biggest uncertainties in industrial supply chains.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) is the concept of businesses communicating electronically certain information that was traditionally communicated on paper. The two classic examples of such information are purchase orders and invoices. Standards for EDI exist to facilitate parties transacting such instruments without having to make special arrangements.
EDI provides a technical basis for automated commercial “conversations” between two entities, either internal or external. The term EDI encompasses the entire electronic data interchange process, including the transmission, message flow, document format, and software used to interpret the documents. However, EDI standards describe the rigorous format of electronic documents, and the EDI standards were designed by the implementers, initially in the Automotive industry, to be independent of communication and software technologies. EDI can be transmitted using any methodology agreed to by the sender and recipient. This includes a variety of technologies, including modem (asynchronous and synchronous), FTP, e-mail, HTTP, AS1, AS2, AS4 etc. It is important to differentiate between the EDI documents and the methods for transmitting them. When they compared the synchronous protocol 2400 bit/s modems, CLEO devices, and value-added networks used to transmit EDI documents to transmitting via the Internet, some people equated the non-Internet technologies with EDI and predicted erroneously that EDI itself would be replaced along with the non-Internet technologies. These non-internet transmission methods are being replaced by Internet protocols such as FTP, HTTP, telnet, and e-mail, but the EDI documents themselves remain.
As of 2002, Walmart have pushed the AS2 for EDI.  Because of its significant presence in the global supply chain, AS2 have become a commonly adopted approach for EDI.
And like EDI is a safe communication tool, so is skype and videoconferencing a meanwhile a standard communication tool. In a global acting world and in global shaped supply chains, it is necessary to have standard IT possibilities to connect and to transfer data to commonly used data rooms.
Skyp, video conferencing and using globally internally and externally changeable data rooms are mandatory for a globally working company. What ever is used, it should be based on a software, in which I can invite practically everybody, who is connected with his computer to the internet.
Due to the worldwide rolled out standards, this demand is easy to fulfil. And it is easy to fulfil for everybody the demand of the above-mentioned solutions, with the offered …aaS (as a Service) solutions. Every company can shape its one IT environment, even if they do not have any IT know-how. You can get IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) and SaaS (software as a service) solutions. Depending on the economical result you can choose to give everything to extern or to do part of the business within your company. In this respect it is also necessary, to assure a safe data connection from everywhere to your data. This keeps you and your people workable, independent where you are.
And finally, in this area, we should mention platforms, which should be used, to assure to stay with the right contracts in the market. The best examples are the e-buy platforms. On this platform you can place your offers and you can ask for offers from suppliers. In my opinion a “must” to assure competitiveness. And there are much more possibilities, which every company has to check regularly.
Until this point, we have discussed applications only, which should be really standard or at least be analysed by the business management. Depending on the businesses, it is possible, some businesses need less intense application of the one or the other subject. In my opinion it is not possible, to deny this elements without checking the influence of your business.
2. Opportunities, driven by newer technology
In this chapter I have listed technologies and application fields, which can be used already today. It is strongly depending on the business model, which impact these technologies can have.
With our todays capabilities of computer, we have great possibilities to analyse big data volumes in brief time. The big data development has achieved meanwhile a status, which gives the possibilities to analyse big data volumes continuously. Such a continuously monitoring gives a good basis for decision making and risk evaluation.
Big data analysis becomes especially valuable, if a lot of data are available. This becomes better and better, as more sensors we adapt to the internet of things.
How the internet of thing (IoT) works?
If we have in all products the above-mentioned sensors, we are confronted with the question: What to do with this data?
Here are some fields of opportunities, to use this data in daily life and to make life easier
You name it and you will have it in IoT.
And here is now the strategical decision of companies needed: Are existing companies ready to take over the new business models, arising of the table above table or will we have for the application of these services new companies.
However, the decision of the companies, how to place themselves in the market, is now necessary. The train towards the IoT is already on the race and the important places in this train are assigned now.
In the following picture you can see the growth of the word population in the past and with some forecast and you se the development and the forecast for the IoT.
We have already several times more sensors and devises on the IoT than people on earth.
The new businesses will mainly have this development as a basis. We are in the middle of the time to define the business models, using this data source.
All this is accompanied with progresses in artificial intelligence. I am not sure, how much we can already call resent developments: artificial intelligence.
Nevertheless, the progress we can find in these developments are remarkable. This development can make our life much more convenient. We have in this respect also to see the risks, coming up with this development. In the book: Superintelligence, Paths, Danger, Strategy wrote Nick Bostrom (Oxford University 2014) what risks are arising, if the wrong people are first in developing a super intelligence. It is in my opinion a very serious written book, which we should keep in account in further developing superintelligences. But, however we set up the strategy, a lot of developments in that direction are on the way and we have to use them for the services, to utelize the values from the IoT.
IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are already available today. Practically it is already today possible to by services, instead of doing and investing for the own company. This makes it possible that everybody can participate.
Depending on the degree of services, the customer is buying, the direct control of the customer is limited
In the field of the elements, described in chapter 2, the companies must urgendly define their position, now.
3. Development of new business models.
Cloud services, central databases and Blockchain should be our subjects in this chapter. I brought these three subjects in this chapter together, even if this are not modern technologies. To utilize this
technologies on a global scale, we do not have usable policies in place.
Let us start with describing the cloud services:
From these services we can make a SWOT analysis:
The SWOT analysis shows clear the deficits for cloud solutions. In a lot of countries, it is not possible to store bookkeeping data abroad. Even if for some companies the bookkeeping is done abroad, the data storage has to be assured in the country, in which the company has its registration.
At present time, central databases and cloud solutions must exist in parallel. To come to future orientated business models, it is necessary, for the policy makers, to look for more suitable policies.
However, the central database and the cloud have the issue, to become target of cyber-attacks.
Blockchain technology has some key differentiators from databases.
A blockchain is a write-only data structure, where new entries get appended onto the end of the ledger. Every new block gets appended to the block chain by linking to the previous block’s ‘hash’ . There are no administrator permissions within a blockchain that allow editing or deleting of data.
In a relational database, data can be easily modified or deleted. Typically, there are database administrators who may make changes to any part of the data and/or its structure. Additionally, blockchains were designed for decentralized applications, whereas relational databases, in general, were originally designed for centralized applications, where a single entity controls the data.
There are some examples, which are advisable to work on with a Blockchain technology:
Out of this we can show, how to decide, which system should be applied.
Looking to the before shown examples, we see, the Blockchain can influence a lot of businesses and will change them drastically. Especially subjects like supply chain management, the standard bank processes and the overview about medical results, are very practical examples to be improvable with the Blockchain technology.
Blockchain needs still the proposal for business opportunities and then the helpful policies from the governments. Due to these difficulties, I put it in the chapter: Development of new business models.
In my opinion, the people, who have knowledge about the technologies are not precise enough mentioning it towards the politic. It is necessary to develop business models in this area, because it will have considerable influence on our societies. The change of a society is always long lasting. For this it is necessary to start in time.