Industry Networks are fit-to-purpose.

Total Disruption: Industry Operating Backbones

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This is the fourth article in our ongoing series on Disruption. If you missed the earlier ones, read them here: Disruption Part 1, Disruption Part 2, Disruption Part 3.

Disruption: Industry Operating Backbones (or Networks)

Ideally a network solution should both be industry agnostic, yet be tailored to the needs of a particular industry.

To get the most from the “network effect,” you want as many participants as possible onboard, from as many industries as possible.

For example, an electronics components supplier might be on a network supplying parts to an automotive manufacturer. That supplier might also supply an aerospace company and a medical devices manufacturer. They shouldn’t have to connect to other networks in order to do business with all three of their customers.

Similarly, the automotive company should be able to join the network and do business with all of their suppliers on the network, regardless of the industry those suppliers are otherwise supporting.

Logistics providers are in a particularly precarious position, having to serve customers from a wide range of industries. They too should be able to onboard to a single network to serve all their customers.

Nor should data be duplicated for each trading partner relationship. A “single version of the truth” ensures accuracy and integrity for all parties, and allows trading partners to make collaborative decisions based on the same authoritative data.

Functionally, the network needs to support solutions that are industry-specific, so that data models, transactions and workflows are purpose-built for a specific industry, such as retail, pharmaceuticals, food service, automotive, etc.

Not only that, these industry-specific backbones or networks, should be extensible, so that they can accommodate your specific business processes, workflows and needs, not the so-called “best practices” as dictated by the software vendor.

This is just scratching the surface. If you’d like to learn more, I recommend reading Industry Operating Backbones which covers the advantages of these purpose-built networks in more detail.


Bruce Jacquemard