Identifying Prototypical Thought Leaders of 2016’s EDI Subsector
Saving what remains of the Supply Chain and Manufacturing centric transactional messaging market.
The remaining EDI networks (VANs) post consolidation will require an invigorating outside presence or the guiding hands of smart and savvy veterans to turn around the present sorry state of affairs the industry finds itself in. Examined in this monograph: Who will step forward to right the ship, set a good example, and be Stewards to the EDI Networked Messaging Subsector??
Identifying those “Most Likely to Have a Positive Impact (i.e. Heros) is not challenging, because the opposite stands in stark evidentiary contrast by the PE stoked leviathans still haunting the sector, despite the inherent rot festering within their C-Suites and emanating outwards to their client / victims.
Eliminate the Negative
Postmortem rehashing of the VAN consolidation era – is too depressing to enrobe in ASCII characters, therefore we start with a positive note.
VANs consolidation stoked by PE has have perfected nothing but a talent for disappointing clients. If the 2015 Q3 IT support surveys are credible, Liaison and OpenText have taken X number of EDI networks of varying quality, and transformed them into two logical networks of the poorest quality.
As these megaliths have no founders skin left in the game, no original team equity, and having terminated, bought out, or fired the most experienced (and therefore costly) Software Engineering talent – where does the market now turn in this new year of 2016 for real, functional, EDI Communications services?
Accentuate the Positive
The EDI communications sector has its stalwart Founder / Engineers that have stayed in the sector. The this post was originally going to call these folks, “heros”, but I think I might call them them, “righteous gluttons for punishment”, as the term ‘martyr’ has been corrupted of late, but I digress.
These folks have chosen to fight rather than run, have elected to evolve their product roadmaps and innovate, despite a dark miasma that persists in hanging above the EDI sector like a pall.
We can readily identify these True Stewards.
They all have been very visible in the EDI forums, on linkedin, on EDI-L, everywhere being as outspoken as possible. Many write informative, almost scholarly (but always practical) articles and posts on topics that are timely, sometimes controversial, and occasionally arrow-like in their topicality.
Sometimes I wish they would state what is on my mind, and then I remember that they have a business to run, employees to pay, and that such hit and run commentary is better left to the analysts – that’s what we do,
How do we recognize them by their attributes? Well, at least informally, they write no filler – period full stop. They are deadly serious, but paradoxically sometimes hilarious in the midst of their pontifications – especially when debating a fellow EDI thought leader on the technical merits of somesuch standard or software engineering technique – protocols are always good fodder for debate, and then we can spot two of these giants at work.
But here is a better list that characterizes the personalities and their organizations generally, for their hard won positive attributes:
- They are Founder / Owners of closely-held corporations.
- The Founder(s) is often an Engineer or a scientist that has driven the original and often the continuing product or service vision of the Corp.
- They are a population of exemplary bootstrappers; known for shunning outside capital; if persuaded to dilute holdings, they do so cautiously. This has been the case when time-to-scale is at stake.
- Most of these EDI Leaders are at least a decade plus into their maturity cycle of providing services, delivering products, and generating solid net revenues.
- Most of them have been reliably making payroll for many years. They are responsible people.
- They have built handpicked teams, not general hires. One can plainly see a mentor / coach model. Their staff tenures exceed 65-75% of the company’s age.
Personal and business reputation, creditworthiness, and credibility is a watchword and life principle for these thought-leaders, they will not sacrifice their moral standing for temporal gains.
They are inherent, inveterate innovators. They own the knowledge space wherein they practice and do business – they are not threatened by colleagues who are worthy and just as opinionated. Without exception, all are the final authorities for advice in the highly technical arenas and scientific specialties where they practice.
I am never surprised when one of these, often a new client, shows me that they are also just as competent and expert in a completely unrelated field of scientific or technical endeavor, or in a difficult to master art.
Do you knows these leaders of the EDI sector? Can you name two or three? As a Tribute, I will name a few in the next post, and write a bit in what they have contributed to the art of transactional messaging or data layer services, etc.