In industries such aspharmaceuticals, development costscan be so high—about a billion dollarsto bring a new drug to market—that itmakes nancial sense or companiesto collaborate with other enterprisesto share costs and risks. However,this nancial risk mitigation dependson eective collaboration tools andapproaches to learning that can unitedierent companies in common wayso doing things.
New sourcing strategies.
Outsourcingand shared services have made thestructure o the enterprise moremodular—which, in turn, highlightsthe need or better integration andcoordination among the dierent parts.Indeed, executives whose organizationsare involved in an outsourcing rela-tionship will oten speak proudly o asituation where it is almost impossibleto tell whether a particular task is beingperormed by an internal employeeor one rom the outsourcing provider.Making that happen, however, requiresthinking about more than the tacticaleorts o workfow management andocusing instead on the leadership andcultural elements that can create moreseamless cooperation.
Expansion into global markets.
Another important driver o cross-enterprise collaboration is globalization.Establishing a solid presence in anew and unamiliar market can otenbe accomplished aster and at lower cost and risk by collaborating with alocal partner. Yet bringing together multiple enterprises across nationalboundaries—with dierent HR policies,perormance management strategiesand career paths—can cause misunder-standings among the dierent playersand undermine success. ReconcilingHR approaches and practices amongthe collaborating companies is vitallyimportant.
Speed to market.
In many cases,collaboration can reduce developmenttimes and speed products to market,in part through the ability to engageteams in round-the-clock workfows.Boeing estimates that its collaborativeapproach to building the 787 shavedabout a year o the aircrat’s develop-ment time. BMW’s X5 Sports Activity Vehicle used more eective collaborationbetween its US-based and Europe-based teams to cut typical time tomarket or a new vehicle by at least12 months. At the same time, however,companies can risk undermining thatinherent collaborative advantage i they haven’t established adequateprocesses or workfow managementand timely decision making.
Complexity of products.
Another challenge has to do with the increasingcomplexity o products, especiallythose that are heavily electronics-based—rom jet airplanes to cars tohigh-tech devices. Cross-enterprisecollaboration is a way to ll in capabil-ity gaps rapidly, leveraging distinctiveintellectual property, market presenceand distribution channels o two or more companies. The collaborationbetween smartphone manuacturer Nokia and sotware giant Microsot—ocused on developing enterprisesolutions involving mobile devicesand applications—is an example o arelationship designed to deliver more value, aster, than either company mighthave been able to achieve by itsel.
Finally, eectivecollaboration enables companies totap into broader sources o new ideasthat can translate into protableproducts and services. In the commu-nications and high-tech industry, or example, the success o “app stores”speaks to the power o a companyopening up its development platormto other companies. Smaller innova-tors get access to a proven channelor their products, and device manu-acturers, network providers andplatorm companies benet rom asurge in usage.
A comprehensive approach
Cross-enterprise collaboration challengesa company across multiple organizational
In the communicationsand high-tech industry,the success of “app stores” speaksto the power of acompany opening up itsdevelopment platformto other companies.