This short article aims to give you an idea of where IRP technology and IRP World will go over the next three years. The ideas behind IRP World and the approach we are taking to ecommerce have been under development since 2013. But the real challenge has been to implement a Unified Commerce Model that completely implements the ideas.
In 2013 we underestimated the size of the business and the technical challenges when the projects started to build out a metric-based, real-time architecture that can create alignment and efficiency in ecommerce.
This work to build a framework for a total solution for ecommerce has proved ambitious and highly technical. However the essence of how the IRP and IRP World works is now clear to everyone and some of the benefits of this framework are being felt in terms of results and reporting.
At this point the IRP/IRP World concept is at its beginnings — with less than 100 IRP customers benefiting from the system in its basic form. The IRP World architecture is built for much bigger things — and this article gives you an idea of where the IRP is going.
What is the problem that IRP technology is trying to solve?
The problem of online selling is that it is very complex, full of subjectivity and bias, and that it is difficult to find the proven resources that you need. The truth is that ecommerce is a basket case because it is a complex and totally unregulated market. This lack of clarity, efficiency, authority and regulation seriously holds back individual companies’ progress to sell more through their own website channel.
The IRP and IRP World’s mission is to make things efficient and to get companies to sell more directly online through their own channel so that they can own the customer. It does this by combining people and technology into one single framework of thinking. In the modern world of commerce, information is a currency. Comparing performance-based metrics and making data-based decisions leads to efficiency and clarity – and therefore increases sales.
If this decision-based and metrics-based approach can trend towards the goal of total efficiency, then the problems of ecommerce will be met.
What does the future IRP product look like?
The future IRP product will be a much more refined version of its current form.
i The IRP will be hosted on a cloud-based architecture that will allow true scaling up of the computing power and resources needed. Deployment will be at the click of a button.
ii. The IRP will be very flexible in its configurations and interface with an additional level of exposure through APIs.
iii. The IRP will completely cover the core parts of all the selling operations of a company.
However the above three features do not differentiate the IRP much from the market — what will differentiate the IRP is the intelligence of the system.
iv. To bring intelligence to the toolkit, the IRP will completely merge with the IRP World so that the interactions between the IRP Admin and people becomes seamless. People, technology and services will become a Unified Commerce Framework and a system of actions that will increase revenues.
Generating suggestions and indicating which Service Providers are appropriate will be as simple as highlighting the number of new orders that are in the IRP Admin.
v. Commercially the IRP will have strong market traction as it begins to be acknowledged as a solution to a deep problem.
Why the IRP will be a highly novel and intelligent commerce system
The IRP is moving in a precise direction — to first visualise information, then to predict outcomes, then to work out how to intervene to make improvements, then to run automatically to correct the situation. This auto-correction technology will be based on the DeepAgent technologies. These are AI, statistical and rule-based systems that will work on a company’s behalf to increase sales. This idea is unique in ecommerce.
Analytics is not really what companies need — analytics take time and require work. What companies actually need is sales in the most efficient way. This is where all things will go with AI. Who needs to know all the information? You just need to know what to do and, even better, to have it done for you.
The idea of a DeepAgent is not to sit there looking at analytics. It is to act in the interest of the company. The DeepAgent will auto-correct IRPs based on data and will auto-contact Service Providers and initiate connections between people in the IRP World. People remain central to the IRP World and the DeepAgent idea — but everyone becomes part of the system.
This compelling framework will be fuelled by a neural network of information that already exists in its basic form. The underlying technology and intelligence will be very strong — because people in IRP Commerce know how to model the DeepAgent system and the IRP around increasing sales. The DeepAgents will have good parents …
Final advanced concepts — ecommerce derivatives
As the technology improves and the IRP and IRP World become seamless, derivative markets will be possible. The requirement to understand how something functions will begin to fade as the information increases and the data brings increasing certainty to the Service Provider capability and to markets.
This will ultimately end up in a market that begins to interact almost seamlessly. The ability to effectively ‘Buy’ or ‘Sell’ SALES at a CPA% will begin to emerge, as will a market based around this concept. In time, companies might bid to provide the sales, thus laying off the risk.
As an example, it will become possible to buy and sell service-based instruments that are perhaps even hedged and insured by third parties as derived financial instruments. Therefore buying sales will be the only thing that an IRP World company needs to do … they no longer need to understand how anything works …
How far are we from tackling all the challenges we face to implement this vision? A few years. However the R&D team have come a long way and have proven their tenacity to make progress on the complex core problems of connected commerce.
We can also expect TradeTalk to make a comeback on stream when the resources are there. TradeTalk will be a true marketplace that is made credible by the amount of quality data in the IRP systems — so that it will be an accurate and fair market with a significant amount of product.
It will also act as an intelligence repository for IRP clients to understand market demand and the prices of products in the market.
As the engagement with analyst companies like Gartner or Forrester begins, this will help the market awareness grow and to help us to prove that the IRP system is one of the top five ecommerce platforms in the world in three years’ time. Personally I already think the IRP is the best system available for the mid market.... but obviously I am biased...