The Enterprise B2B market is poised for a big change with a slew of new offerings hitting the market in the coming months. SaaS solutions in business process areas such as procurement, supplier management, supply chain management (SCM), warehouse and distribution management have been seeing a quiet shift to the Cloud space.
The business case for adopting Cloud based B2B solutions is unambiguous. The traditional B2B real time transaction systems have a heavy foot print of technology product licenses laced with high integration costs with proprietary technologies and heavy infrastructure investments. A move to an internet based real-time system, which can scale on demand coupled with open internet standard protocols paid for on a 'pay-per-use' basis appears to be a logical and an imminent choice for manufacturers and retailers alike.
The B2C market place is today largely dominated by ecommerce and social media platforms. This space is also poised for rapid movement towards internet and Cloud based technologies. There are two main aspects to a B2C solution in general – the transaction processing system and the analytics engine. Transaction processing systems provide organizations a capability to facilitate and manage customer transaction with the on-line website. Most large B2C players with significant online presence have already built highly sophisticated B2C transaction systems. The key differentiation comes when online real-time analytics engines are built on top of transaction systems. Cloud based solutions play an increasingly transformative role in bringing in real time analytics of customers, their online persona – their behavior and buying patterns, their preferences to offer personalized menu and service offerings. With Cloud, the barrier to access such advanced consumer analytics is broken down dramatically leading to a whole slew of startups and big product vendors scrambling to compete in this space to offer affordable and intelligent solutions to businesses aiming to have an online presence.
Enterprises are now building an integrated collaboration platform bringing together marketers, suppliers, partners, customers, web sites and even social networks to bring in more context and personalization to connect with customers. Integrated online collaboration platforms with real-time intelligence, analytics and profiling of customers is leading to a sophisticated portfolio of technology management and advanced on-demand capabilities on a per user model. This means, with Cloud leveling the playing field in terms of access to affordable technology, the real competitive advantage will now rest with the business units to drive revenue and bottom-line related initiatives to make an impact.