Technology Can Be A Great Enabler Of Collaboration, Trust And Mutual Accountability
Over time, business owners and executives have increasingly used the word “partner” to characterize another entity with which their company does business. That should be avoided because, typically, “partners” are equally liable for the debts of their partnership. However, many businesses still have a rather contentious arrangement with suppliers even if they call themselves “partners.” Consumer goods wholesalers grouse that retailers have leverage in negotiations, even though they have the upper hand in dealings with their own suppliers.
Pundits now suggest that such a condition is not beneficial to anyone in the process. Rather, they counsel that businesses which previously negotiated aggressively and pressured suppliers should now aggressively create value in addition to simply rather than simply cut costs. Technology can play an important role in furthering an atmosphere of teamwork and permitting companies to share information instantaneously. Some analysts suggest that, in many arenas, the focus has morphed from customer demands to worthwhile conversations with suppliers that, in turn, facilitate gaining access to relevant information far better than in the past.
Experts also suggest that when people adapt to social networks, online billing and mobile commerce as consumers, they are quite likely to bring an expectation of convenience and transparency into the workplace, which is triggering a cultural shift.
It appears that open collaboration actively drives business model innovation, because collaboration it generates insights that can be shared and ideas that can be explored by many minds. It may not be rocket science, but there is a great advantage to being able to tap into the creativity, talent and expertise of people who are in your business ecosystem but not in your employ.
Imagine that same consumer goods company is able to receive analytical insight from “Point of Sale” data from supermarkets in real-time. These “business signals” can be turned into “replenishment triggers” to maintain continuous on-shelf availability while avoiding over-stocking. Everybody wins, including the consumer.
In any market, flexibility and innovation are becoming the ultimate competitive differentiators. The convergence of Cloud computing, mobility and social media along with enterprise applications has democratized information as well as creating communities that support efficient collaboration. It would seem that in the not too distant future business entities employing a so-called “inside-out”, “them and us” mentality are going to realize that they have been surpassed by networked businesses.
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