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A New Level of Cross-Company Collaboration
TOPICS: Collaboration TAGS: Digitalize and Integrate Processes

A New Level of Cross-Company Collaboration

Are you ready for Multi-Enterprise Networks and Industry Ecosystems?

Published 08/31/2022

Today’s economy demands a new style of leadership. Sure, you still want your company to set the benchmarks and outperform your rivals. But you’re noticing that you need to find new and different ways to engage with your competitors, suppliers, customers and employees. You have to take a more collaborative approach. Here, Marco Becker, Senior Consultant at IDC Central Europe, shares some insights on this key Platform Economy topic.

Current Disruptions Push Supply Chains to their Performance Limits

How surprised were you by the pandemic and the sudden disruption to supply and demand markets? What about the Suez Canal blockade and skyrocketing logistics costs? The Ukraine war and the rising costs of energy, raw materials, and intermediate products? How much time and effort did you have to invest in research and communication to get an overview of the current situation? How much planning certainty do you have for the coming months?

Recent IDC studies paint a sobering picture, and not just in Germany. Companies were caught by surprise and many took a long time and expended a lot of energy to get even a rough overview of the new situation. Even now, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what's to come.

Collaboration: The Foundation for Business Continuity and Resilience in the Industry

On the bright side, many companies are now reflecting on the causes of the crises, how to improve their resilience to disruptions, and how to strengthen business continuity.

IDC studies show that what is needed is more transparency, more diversification in the value chain, and more agility.

IDC believes the main enabler, however, is collaboration — both within companies and along the entire industrial value chain.

According to a recent IDC study on industrial IoT, among 250 German industrial companies with 100 or more employees, many respondents also share this opinion, with around 26% saying improving collaboration and data exchange with suppliers, partners, and ecosystems is a top priority.

This helps manufacturing companies, for example, to optimize procurement, production, and sales, and to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. At the same time, it helps upstream and downstream suppliers and logistics providers by preparing them for slumps in demand or sales. When everyone can operate more efficiently, each individual in the value chain benefits.

How to improve resilience to disruptions and strengthen business continuity

transparency
diversification in the value chain
agility
collaboration

To enable and support collaboration, companies need a continuous exchange of data in all stages of the value chain. (...) A central data platform is needed to implement a data strategy and a single source of truth. This brings together all data sources, standardizes them, improves data quality and integrity, and enables a detailed overview, further analysis, and data-based collaboration.

Marco Becker
Senior Consultant

IDC Central Europe

A Holistic Data Strategy and Single Source of Truth Are Key

To enable and support collaboration, companies need a continuous exchange of data in all stages of the value chain.

For this to work, however, a number of elements are necessary. From an organizational perspective, a comprehensive data and analytics strategy is vital. This prevents data silos by formalizing data integration from all sources and connecting data and analytics with the business strategy.

Only 13% of respondents have implemented this approach, though a further 58% have at least integrated isolated data sources centrally and set out their data strategy with short-term business goals. Another key factor is creating a "single source of truth" — a continuous, uniform database that enables every participant to work with the same data status.

A central data platform is needed to implement a data strategy and a single source of truth. This brings together all data sources, standardizes them, improves data quality and integrity, and enables a detailed overview, further analysis, and data-based collaboration.

Many companies are now reflecting on (...) how to improve their resilience to disruptions, and how to strengthen business continuity. IDC studies show that what is needed is more transparency, more diversification in the value chain, and more agility. IDC believes the main enabler, however, is collaboration — both within companies and along the entire industrial value chain.

Marco Becker
Senior Consultant

IDC Central Europe

The latter requires good, secure, and, depending on the use case, real-time integration as well as constant synchronization. As a result, all participants can access the necessary data and share their own data.

All prerequisites — data strategy, central data platform, single source of truth, and integration interfaces — should be created equally by all companies in the value chain. Only then, through interconnectedness, will companies realize the full benefits.

Agility and New Business with Multi-Enterprise Networks and Cross-Sector Industry Ecosystems

Future businesses will become more agile to increase their resilience to negative influences. This will happen through "multi-enterprise networks" — supply chain networks that replace straightforward value chains with a network of variable partners to increase agility in procurement and processing and reduce their dependence on single suppliers and producers.

In these networks, the lowest price doesn't necessarily win; the key to success is to offer reliability, punctuality, and good quality. Producers benefit from this because it avoids "single points of failure." Suppliers and service providers benefit because they no longer have to act solely on the basis of cost pressure. At the same time, the networks can minimize risk, reduce costs, and tackle sustainability, for example by complying with the new German Supply Chain Act (Lieferkettengesetz, LkSG).

IDC also highlights the importance of "industry ecosystems" — associations of companies whose cooperation extends beyond supply chain activities and, in the case of cross-sector industry ecosystems, even beyond their own industry, by combining their own applications, data, and existing products and services with those of other ecosystem members.

Companies that participate in these expect faster innovation (31%), new sales (29%), and better quality (26%) in the future. Partners that would otherwise have little interaction with customers will now be able to access valuable data.

IDC expects that by 2023 around 60% of OEMs will use customer data from industry ecosystems to improve their products and shorten their time to market by 20%.

Seventy-five percent of industrial companies surveyed in Germany say they are part of an industry ecosystem. According to the study results, however, only about a fifth of these companies benefit from a high-level data exchange and focus on new business.

Conclusion: Ultimately, Only Those That Consistently Digitize Can Participate

A company's resilience and continuity increasingly depend on the resilience and agility of its ecosystem, as do the opportunities for new business and innovation. Data-based industry ecosystems, just like multi-enterprise ecosystems, do not necessarily have to be long term and strategic. They also offer companies the chance to dissolve rigid, inflexible structures in collaboration. Depending on the current market requirements, selective or temporary collaboration can also be useful and supported in an agile manner. Consistent digitization, a clean database, and a central data platform that can be integrated easily and securely are key prerequisites for participation and collaboration. This is an ambitious challenge, but one that companies should not put off if they want to be part of the business of tomorrow. The potential benefits are immense: IDC predicts that by 2026, almost a third of all G2000 companies' revenues will come from shared data, applications, and operational initiatives in industry ecosystems.

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Swetlana Isaak

Swetlana Isaak

Communications Manager

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