Last week I wrote the first post “New Relationship” of the post series “The New Rules of IWMS” based on the book “What Would Google Do” by Jeff Jarvis. This is the second post from the series and is about the New Architecture.
The link (and search) changes everything
“In retail, media, education, government, and health—everything—the link drives specialization, quality, and collaboration, and it changes old roles and creates new ones. The link changes the fundamental architecture of societies and industries the way steel girders and rails changed how cities and nations were built and how they operated. Google makes links work. Google is the U.S. Steel of our age.” (Jarvis, 2009)
No longer are consumers bound by geographical locations. In the new architecture people can go online, and search for all the specific information they need about an IWMS including:
- Functionality Descriptions
- Technical Specifications
- Customer Evaluations
- Analyst Coverage (including IWMSNews)
Google has enabled and empowered customers which requires a different approach from IWMS vendors as well.
What’s more in the new architecture customers can actively participate in forums, and connect with peers around the world.
(Jarvis, 2009) argues:
“The link and search created the means to find anything and connect anyone. Now everyone could speak and all could hear. It enabled people to organize around any interest, task, need, market, or cause.”
Join a network
The new architecture is based on connections and networks. The more connections a network has, the more important the network is in terms of business opportunities.
The backbone of social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn are the connections forged between individuals. The more connections the network has, the more important the network becomes.
IWMS vendors are joining these networks as well as you can find in the table below.
The connections that IWMS vendors will make with their customers will become increasingly important over the next couple of years. As a result the table above will be fully populated before the end of this year.
Be the platform
Platforms help users create products, businesses, communities, and networks of their own. If it is open and collaborative, those users may in turn add value to the platforms. (Jarvis, 2009)
The real value of IWMS is in being the platform.
Instead of controlling the content IWMS vendors need to learn from Google, Facebook and Twitter. By opening up the platform for others, others can add value to the platform. Opening the platform for a third party is usually done through an API.
According to Twitter’s FAQ:
The acronym “API” stands for “Application Programming Interface”. An API is a defined way for a program to accomplish a task, usually by retrieving or modifying data. In Twitter’s case, we provide an API method for just about every feature you can see on our website. Programmers use the Twitter API to make applications, websites, widgets, and other projects that interact with Twitter. Programs talk to the Twitter API over HTTP, the same protocol that your browser uses to visit and interact with web pages.
If we apply the Google Rule to this; it means that Twitter tries to extend the Twitter network by enabling programmers to add their own applications, websites, widgets and other projects, thus creating additional value which will extend the Twitter network.
For IWMS vendors this is the way to go.
Open your system through an API and be the platform. Allow programmers to add value to your platform by providing them the means to do so.
(Note: Some IWMS vendors are already provide API’s. Unfortunately in some cases the API’s are limited to transactions).
“Most companies think centralized, and they have since the decline of the Sears catalog and the dawn of the mass market. Companies make us, the customers, come to them. They spend a fortune in marketing to attract us. We are expected to answer the siren call of advertising and trudge to their store, dealership, newsstand, or now, web site. They even think we want to come to them, that we are drawn to them, moths to the brand. (Jarvis, 2009)
IWMS vendors need to think more distributed in terms of their marketing. No longer will large marketing budgets do the trick. The best way to spread word is to think distributed. Allow customers to spread the word for you. Support them in doing so. Affiliate marketing might just be a great way to be distributed.
Jarvis, J. (2009). What Would Google Do. New York: HarperBusiness.