The old matchmakers of tradeshows, print advertising, fliers and cold calls are as old fashioned as a tea dance in the era of Snapchat. Find your next Business Partner on-line.


Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match. From the earliest times maidens and swains have looked for their perfect match. The wise old woman of the song may not be in so much demand these days, but many of us found our partners through the comparatively small networks of family friends, university networks or work colleagues (I myself married from the latter group)

But like many models which have stood the test of time, this approach is under pressure from Networks. Dating websites now account for 30% of new relationships (with the over 50s being the fastest growing segment), and many other websites such as Facebook are used to meet new people.

Love is in the clouds_640.jpgIt’s pretty obvious why the on-line Networks are beating out that nice boy whose mother plays tennis with your parents. One of the few business books of the dot com era to stand the test of time is Blown to Bits by Evans & Wurster. One of its themes is that if the cloud allows improvements in both Richness and Reach it has the ability to displace older models. Examples from the book include the death of Encyclopedias and High Street travel agents. Social Networks are evidently also doing that for social partnering: Richer profiles add not just pictures, but favourite films music and can even announce what book I am reading right now. Improved Reach is not just a numbers game, but also deep algorithms for matches and predictive search.

It’s not just for romantic partners where Social is overtaking old methods, but for business partners to. The old matchmakers of tradeshows, print advertising, fliers and cold calls are as old fashioned as a tea dance in the era of Snapchat. Both buyers and sellers can now use Business Networks to improve their Richness and Reach.

Improving the Richness means that buyers and sellers can know more about each other before doing business. Not just commodity and geography, but peer reviews and Analytics regarding on-time performance or credit rating.

In the social world a more complete picture of a potential partner can be generated with searches on Facebook, blogs and Tumblr. In Business Networks, businesses are able to generate equivalent insights about potential partners by using Bigdata analysis of news feeds, social and empirical transactional data.

With dating websites, improving Reach is not just about the millions of potential partners, but the ability to find the soulmate via predictive search: “suppliers you may like” and similar algorithms based on big data approaches.

Love has been in the Cloud for some years now: the percentage of couples who meet online is up to about 1 in 4 and still on the rise. With the rise of Business Networks we will see similar match rates.


So, this Valentine’s Day, sign up with a Matchmaker by joining the Ariba Network, and join the 1.2m companies who are finding new partners..You can get started right here with Ariba Discovery.


A version of this post previously appeared in SAP Business Trends.

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