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  Surviving Under the New Model for Business in the B2B Biosphere  

Excite/Canada Page, November 2000, by Robert McGarvey
Los Angeles, California -- The Internet B2B (Business to Business) revolution is rapidly expanding the business environment, changing the entire strategic landscape and creating a new commercial biosphere with its own language, business models, asset types, corporate culture and inter-corporate relationships. Like all major economic transformations, this Webspace biosphere creates a vast new potential for growth. But it also changes the living environment, altering the rules of survival, leaving many existing life forms that are unwilling or unable to adapt, out of the food chain.

Values are changing. The vast new efficiencies in SCM (supply chain management) are driving businesses into more collaborative, joint-destiny type relationships up and down the supply chain -- creating Internet linked e-Business Communities (eBC's) that behave like single organizations. These deeply integrated strategic partnerships are emerging with incredible speed, driven by a new, more cooperative, corporate competition model. The Internet always did have its own homespun ethics, and they are quickly becoming the rules of the game. The key to survival is adapting to a new business environment that many are describing as 'co-opetition.'
Keith Krach, CEO of Ariba, recently addressed a U.S. Senate Committee on this very subject. He pointed out that eCommerce is changing the traditional "command and control" model of management, into one where de-centralized teams of empowered individuals -- motivated by their ownership in the corporation -- run the show. Given these vastly wider patterns of ownership, the potential for cooperation is greatly increased and encouraged.

Does 'co-opetition' mean the end of competition? Not in the slightest. Each level of capitalist growth has spawned new rules and new ethics that change the nature of corporate competition. eCommerce will only accelerate this scenario.

It is clear that success in the new biosphere of Webspace is dependent upon adapting to the new model quickly. Webspace may be win-win, as both buyers and suppliers gain through new collaborative relationships, but it's lose-lose for those who cannot adapt in time.

Robert McGarvey is Founder & Director of Strategic Performance at Beckett Advisors, Inc., a strategic marketing firm based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at robertM@beckettadvisors.com


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