How internet growth is changing business processes

An influential key internet trends report, just released, has collected a slew of fascinating facts and figures about how the world is changing through internet adoption.

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Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, has for years released an annual report on where she sees the internet going.

Things have changed since she started it. In 1995, the first year of the report, mobile phone penetration was 1% of the population. Today, it's 73%.

Latest report

The latest report has just come out and within it she's collected pages of fascinating snippets of data and factoids related to changes in our internet-driven lives. She talks of new forms of e-commerce, smartphones, and how Millennials see things differently than older folks.

Here are some of the highlights from her 197-slide presentation:

Enterprise processes

Data being made more useful, and services more efficient, is driving change in enterprise software.

It "used to be about making existing work more efficient. Now, the opportunity for software is to transform the work itself," tweets Box founder Aaron Levie, who Meeker quotes.

What he means is that business processes themselves are changing. And that's a fundamental part of the new internet.

Big data cloud-planning

Internal email traffic-reducing apps like Slack are improvements over "semi-inflexible" messaging tools like email; complicated cash registers are replaced by entrepreneurial smartphone point-of-sale systems, such as Square and Stripe; and data connections like Domo offer an improvement in market intelligence over the spreadsheet.

Meeker mentions a slew of these kinds of cloud-planning and other applications.

"We will be stunned at how uninformed we used to be when we made decisions," Billy Bosworth of DataStax said of the evolution of big data, according to the report.

Mobile internet traffic

Mobile is taking over. Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia and Poland, in that order, are countries where more internet traffic is carried through mobile devices than fixed ISPs.

India, China, and the UK are the three most mobile device-oriented e-commerce countries, she says.

All three counted mobile devices as providing more than 20% of 2014 e-commerce sales. The U.S. was way down in seventh place, with around 15%.


In 2010, people spent 7.6 hours per day in front of screens of one kind of another. Today, that number is 9.9 hours, Meeker has discovered.

A lot of that gain has been in mobile, and she reckons the big 20-year change since she started the annual reports is that people are now connected to mobile devices 24/7.


Always-on messaging is revolutionary and notifications are "key layers of every meaningful mobile app," she says.

Millennials are happy to create their own media, and 34% of this demographic prefer to collaborate online as opposed to in-person or by phone.

For comparison, only 19% of older generations like to work that way.


What's sometimes called the "Sharing Economy" is a new form of commerce. The rise of connectivity, with its associated online marketplaces and platforms, is helping people earn income and work on their own terms.

In New York City, for example, 72% of Airbnb hosts use the platform's earnings to pay rents and mortgages. Notably, other markets are less dependent, though.

Meeker reckons online platforms and marketplaces will continue to impact in a similar way to how first-generation internet companies did.

That elements of consumer protection will be taken into empowered consumers' own hands through social media is another development.

And the fly in the ointment—or the crack in the Gorilla glass?

User growth in big internet markets, while solid, is slowing; and smartphone subscription growth, while strong, is also slowing, she says.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.