Today’s article is the second in a series of articles centered on our new Technology Adoption Report on Business Networks, sponsored by Hubwoo, and available for download here. While analyzing the technology markets and advising large enterprises on their technology strategy is something we have been doing for years, this work does not make it into our reports or into articles on our network of sites very frequently. We’re planning to change this and this new “adoption report” is but one visible way we plan to do so. Basically, supply management technology is a core area of our expertise and we believe that when this expertise is coupled with our market leading research, we can produce powerful and informative research.

Today’s article presents a sneak preview of the report including some highlights and an overview of the business network market.

Business Networks Background

The origins of the modern business network began in the early 1990s when technology platforms were developed into[AB1]  supplier networks that enabled primarily buy-side users in one-to-one arrangements. But the growth of the commercial internet and connectivity since then helped to transform supplier networks into what they are today – many-to-many arrangements that benefit all sides of the procure-to-pay process. Thus, the term supplier network has evolved into its modern incarnation, the business network, and technology innovation continues to drive its evolution. In the future, we expect business network providers to offer solutions that expand the number and type of business processes, documents, and information that they support.

Business Networks Definition

For now, Ardent defines a modern “business network” as a web-based platform that enables interconnected buyers and sellers to trade, communicate, and collaborate with each other. There are a variety of business network types that target specific markets, users, and processes. Most of these networks share a many-to-many ability to connect participants and a value proposition that promotes a shared infrastructure and common standards. Business networks typically enable automation in three key areas: 1) simple, connected information-sharing (i.e., remittance data) between buyers and sellers, 2) direct, electronic links between enterprises that facilitate and speed transactions like purchase orders and invoices and, 3) support communication, collaboration, and third-party services in support of the partner relationship.

Report Overview

This Ardent Partners Technology Adoption report We’features some predictions about the current and future impact of business networks across organization size, looking specifically at the use of purchase orders, invoicing, and ePayables that are leveraged more as a direct result of the use of business networks. The more that these will be leveraged, the more value that business networks will drive as a result of their adoption. Our report then examines criteria for selecting business network technology solutions. These include: cost for buyer, system integration capabilities, collaboration and communication enablement, and a few other key criteria that should be considered before deciding upon a solution.

Future growth and outlook for business network adoption is another major theme of this report, as we’ll look at current year adoption vis-à-vis projected adoptions for 2015 and 2016. While business network adoption appears to grow in the coming years, its adoption rates show slow but measureable growth among all enterprises. We’ll conclude the report with a rundown of the several ways that business network providers will adapt to market conditions. Overall, they will do this by aggressively expanding the number and type of business processes, documents, and information that they support, and beginning to achieve a true network effect in their core P2P and supply management process areas.

Want to know more? Download the full report located here.

Stay tuned for more technology adoption reports from Ardent Partners. Soon, Research Director Christopher Dwyer will publish a VMS-focused technology adoption report that will highlight how this solution fits into the current market and detail its current utilization, future growth, and end-user perceptions of the offering.

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