Business networks have changed through the ages and they have become greater and greater, reaching a worldwide scale. Nowadays, companies have to learn how to manage the business networks’ changes and its expansion over the world. However, somehow, our current business networks are not new at all and have already existed in the past.
How to define a business network? It is what creates the most important value for companies as well as for the society in general. How were ancient business networks? They had the same features! So what we need to learn today is not how to build a different business network, but it is rather a matter of management.
Indeed, business networks were already existing during the Middle Ages and after. Besides, history is our best teacher and that is the reason why today’s company must learn from Ancient business networks. They can teach us more than we think.
Nowadays, business networks are bigger than they used to be in the Middle Ages, and that is the reason CEOs, and all C-levels people have to learn how to manage them in today’s business world.
The first thing that needs to be taken into account today is the global dimension of our business networks. Indeed, this can be the first issue companies have to deal with. A global business network does not require the same management as ancient business networks.
Besides, the hardest thing to manage is the information. Actually, it can be easier than we think, but again, it is a matter of management and adaptation.
Information can be our best tool to manage global business networks, we just need to learn how to collect and use the information properly. That is the reason why new Information Technology systems keep being developed and implemented.
Leaders in today’s business world are those who understood that information was important and have to be managed very carefully. Data collection can be a tough task and it can take time, but it is essential to be efficient, and even more effective in value creation. The more data you collect, the more value created. Information will help you make a deeper analysis of your external environment, as well as your internal environment. In effect, the more you know about yourself and about your competitors, the more improvement you can achieve. That is the reason why information is a key factor in business network evolution.
Therefore, your company needs a very good IT system beforehand. Not only a very good one, it also has to be adapted to your business requirements. Not all companies can use the same systems; they have to fit your own requirements. When it comes to IT systems, preparation is crucial because it will enable to avoid huge mistakes by choosing a random system that seems to work for others. For example, a system that is very efficient for a textile industry may not work for transportation companies. That is the reason why IT systems implementation has to be very well prepared, and carefully tested in your industry before you rush into big changes. If you want to learn more before starting your project, I suggest you read The 5-STAR Business Network (http://bit.ly/5-STARBN), a book for CEOs by Vivek Sood.
To conclude, though business networks have always existed, but their management has to evolve consequently. Bigger networks imply more information, and the access to information can make your business very powerful on the market. However, it is not that easy to manage information and that is the reason why new IT systems have been developed. The story of the evolution of business networks is mostly about expansion and expansion always involves complexity. Thus, every CEO must keep in mind that business networks have to be adapted to the changes involved by complexity. Besides, complexity will keep increasing as business networks are expanding.
by Anais Lelong