Closed or open networks? The future of media and everything

Pete Loughlin at Purchasing Insight had an interesting correspondence with Supply Management the other day which he's featured here in a post. (But do read on, this really isn't just another 'having a go at Supply Management piece - honest! I'm going to make a much wider point).

What he's highlighting is the difference between inclusive, open networks and closed, exclusive approaches. Supply Management and by extension CIPS, want to be closed - they don't broadcast the fact, but they won't feature anything from anyone they think is a competitive threat.  Now we think that's a shame, counter productive and bad news for CIPS members.

We on the other hand - and Purchasing Insight - work on the basis that if its interesting we'll feature it, wherever it comes from. We believe in the open network. And it's not just a size thing because we're relatively smaller; this is a philosophical difference. Look at huge publishing operations (such as the Huffington Post) that work on a similar basis.

And this is why this has wider implication - there are parallels with other aspects of the procurement eco-system. Does your software integrate easily with other products, or is it trying to trap you in an 'exclusive' net?  If you use consultants, do they try and bring you best practice from wherever they can find it, or do they have a 'not invented here' approach?  How well do your suppliers collaborate with other suppliers?

Our feeling is that in a connected, shrinking, e-enabled world, the "exclusive" model doesn't work too well any more in most markets for its exponents, or their customers.  Networks, integrated, collaborative.. those seem to be the words that describe the way forward for most industries.

And coming back to media, here's Purchasing Insight's brilliant final sentence:

If you take a walled garden approach to your content, believing that your readers need not go beyond your site, your readers will soon be someone else’s readers.

But maybe we're just being idealistic because its Friday? What do you think?

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Voices (5)

  1. Final Furlong:

    Views on this announcement, anyone?

  2. Dan:

    Ironic that Supply Management don’t see the benefits to their customers of ‘competition’…

  3. John Vasili:

    My view: If its interesting feature it, if you don’t someone else will..

  4. Final Furlong:

    As I say, competition creates better products – alliances create better companies

  5. Pete:

    Thanks for the kind remarks Peter.

    I very much agree with the collaborative suppliers comment. It is closely analogous to web 2.0 – suppliers who can work with their competitors successfully are better suppliers to have.

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