Unthinkable is not too strong a word. The world in which I grew up in B2B is now over, and some weeks you live through a few days when everything you see and read hammers the message home. This has been one. I find huge encouragement in what I see the business and professional business markets doing – risking their lives to save their lives – yet I am still amazed, given the conservative resistance to change, that they are doing it at all.

So the tech stuff we can now take for granted. In my life in work we have gone from dial-up to fixed disc to IP network and now to mobile and still many people who call themselves “publishers” are doing fundamentally what they have always done, while reacting to change by altering the filters, adjusting the business models and hoping for the best. And what did I think would happen? Well, here are some of my expectations of Post-Modern B2B:

All through the early Internet years, whenever someone like me suggested to a roomful of publishers that the very fact that individuals were networked to each other would completely change the way in which information was used for communication in business or the professions, there was that funny little smirking smile, that faint twist of the lips, that suggested that the listener was humouring you, and you would soon get better. These were the years of “Well, just show me somewhere where it has worked” or “I see what you mean, but who is making money out of it?”. There were days when I wondered if I would live long enough to see a new world of communication and information unfold.

And then there are other weeks, and this is one, when I cry Hallelujah! Have your read your Outsell Insights this week, for example? Or looked at some of the key press releases? Outsell’s David Bousfield reports (https://clients.outsellinc.com/insights/?p=11489) on a new move by Elsevier to create geographical workflow. Its GeoFacets interface, designed as a solution for the research problems of geosciences researchers, enables them to map all of the data contained in Elsevier’s massive collection of scholarly publishing. But it would not be a solution if it did not also map into this context the commercial research created and held by completely different sorts of organizations. So it did the rational thing and struck a deal with IHS and Wood Mackenzie, leading sources of the commercial data, in order to invest in GeoFacets the one thing that is vital to solution -orientated users: completeness. David’s fascinating note reminds us that geophysical content, because of the overarching  presence of GIS systems, is a natural for this, but, for publishers, as Dr Johnson, would put it, this type of collaboration is as hard as a woman preaching or teaching a bear to dance. Since both of those are now totally commonplace I expect to see many more deals like this.

And so I went to a different screen and found another model at work. On 2 June, Wolters Kluwer Health and Pharma Solutions announced a deal with Decision Resources governing those customers who these two big players in pharma information have in common. They will effectively provide joint access to their pharma markets data which will allow both datasets – WK’s Source Data Analytics and Decision Resources’ Fingertip Formulary and Health Leaders InterStudy – to be integrated. Existing customers – and no doubt new ones seeking the cross-over deal – will be able to create their own solutions with a complete dat environment. Any bets on how long it takes to move best of breed client solutions into marketable products, or indeed how soon these players will want to be doing joint marketing? (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110603/Decision-Resources-Wolters-Kluwer-Health-Pharma-create-TPA-process-for-mutual-customers.aspx).

Elsewhere in the Outsell oeuvre this week I found David Curle (https://clients.outsellinc.com/insights/?p=11499) in a state of shock. He had discovered that lawyers were spending less time on research than in years gone by. Having spent formative years building law databases I read his piece with mounting excitement. So lawyers too want answers, not research facilities. When the most conservative of our brethren begin to feel that they don’t want look up, but they do want the assurance that what they should have been aware of they have been notified about, then “solutioning” is about to break out full flood.

And, finally, let me end where I started the week. The Nature Education announcement on a new style of educational resource (I refuse to pander and call it an eTextbook) had a very distinguishing element. The removal of “product ownership” with its assumed rights of replication and lending, and the start of content rental. This is a hallmark of change, and indicates much about the downgrading of content per se and the arrival of solutions. The Principles of Biology is a solution. It will get you through your exams, so hire it now and we will keep in up to date for you (http://www.nature.com/nature_education/biology.html).

In each of these developments  this week I see the movement and re-creation of the B2B markets playing out. So please do not ask me who is making it work and whether they are making money. It is time to pack away the scepticism and embrace change – by living it.


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3 Comments so far

  1. Are IPOs and Start-ups Gaining Steam or Hype? | Advancing the Business of Information on June 6, 2011 19:51

    […] are of the industry we serve and that is never lost on me, so stay tuned for more. In the interim, David Worlock’s blog and Silicon Valley mania have urged me back to the keyboard. While he so wonderfully explains the […]

  2. Outsell Inc. :: Money and Marketing in the Information Industry » Blog Archive » Are IPOs and Start-ups Gaining Steam or Hype? on July 5, 2011 14:34

    […] are of the industry we serve and that is never lost on me, so stay tuned for more. In the interim, David Worlock’s blog and Silicon Valley mania have urged me back to the keyboard. While he so wonderfully explains the […]

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