The Story of INNOVO Network
I set INNOVO Network up in 2011 to make it much easier for companies to sell goods and services. My ambition for INNOVO was to become a global business which was simultaneously successful commercially and in making a difference to Good Causes.
Phase 1: Business Model Development
Over 350 senior executives (Chairs, CXOs, VPs, Directors) with deep experience across many diverse industries and encompassing organisations of all sizes from the private and public sectors were recruited. A wide variety of different business models were developed and tested. Like Edison with hundreds of failed light bulbs before developing one that worked, the vast majority of these models failed to meet the very demanding objectives for INNOVO set out above at its inception.
We then discovered that Buyers could save if they made it easier for Suppliers to sell to them. We finally settled on a free network where Buyers save and Suppliers sell by co-operating on a platform which also benefits Good Causes. We call this the New Global Commerce.
Hitachi Consulting were engaged in the development of network architecture derived from this type of model.
Phase 2: Alpha Testing
Once the architecture had been determined, small scale alpha test trials were conducted at a number of global enterprise clients including Bank of America, Financial Times e-learning, MHA and 7 of the UK’s biggest electricity companies to prove that savings could be achieved. These trials were successful in generating savings of c. 20% and a small income for INNOVO. At this stage, there was no operational platform and no business model for delivering and monetizing savings on a global scale.
Having developed all of the key elements of the business model, commercial demand for this was tested out for 6 days when the website was Search Engine Optimized (SEO). Hundreds of companies, mostly SMEs registered from numerous countries. High levels of demand were demonstrated, so SEO for the website was turned off to focus attention on the build of an enterprise level platform. There was no further marketing activity except direct approaches to targeted enterprise clients. Meeting their standards would ensure that the INNOVO platform could accommodate very high levels of enterprise demand.
Phase 3: Initial Enterprise Testing and Platform Build
Grant Thornton introduced Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) ($26bn p.a. spend) to INNOVO. Small scale trials involving Suppliers across a range of product categories were conducted offer savings. The savings offered to BAML averaged 15%.
Launching with blue chips like BAML requires a capability for handling transactions in any geography and tax jurisdiction. This is to be addressed by one of the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms who will handle all of INNOVO’s core financial operations. Additionally, another of the ‘Big 4’ is to audit INNOVO and its transactions.
Phase 4: Final Platform Beta Tests
INNOVO partnered with a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services. It owns over 150 companies in communications, energy, transport and utilities. Prior to engaging with INNOVO it has set up a procurement platform for insurance which enables over 500 companies to save on their insurance spend. It has become one of the world’s biggest buyers of commercial insurance.
During 2016 it engaged 6 of the world’s leading consultancies to assess INNOVO. Having cleared this hurdle, it asked INNOVO to reach out to Suppliers to test the level of savings that they were prepared to offer under contract. Suppliers offered savings averaging 17%, which matches the current ongoing level of savings.
By March 2017, INNOVO had completed beta test trials demonstrating that it could deliver immediate savings at an existing supplier under contract. These immediate savings came from the Supplier successfully using INNOVO for new customer acquisition and to pursue savings down its own supply chain.
Details of some of the tests and trials can be found in Case Studies.
Phase 5: Full Scale Launch of a Disruptive B2B Platform
INNOVO has remained in stealth mode with no advertising or marketing since its inception. Following the successful completion of trials with major enterprise partners at the end of February 2017, INNOVO can be used by the following industries:
Two of the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms will be involved in financial operations, along with audit and dispute resolution.
INNOVO: A Disruptive B2B Platform
The book ‘Platform Revolution’ by Van Alstyne, Parker and Choudary highlighted how B2C companies like Airbnb and Uber have disrupted their industries at lightning speed. INNOVO has developed a particularly advanced Platform Business Model for B2B industries across all goods and services. I expect it to beneficially disrupt these industries at the same time as generating money for Good Causes.
- Martin Kelly
CEO & Founder