How will you collaborate with your customers?
Discussions About Creating a Collaborative Advantage
Created within each of these three relationships in your networked enterprise should be a system of constant interface to a value-added environment for information exchange. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a business leadership series professor at Harvard Business School, describes this interface as a “collaborative advantage.”
A collaborative advantage helps ventures gain strength to compete through real-time integration and relationships, providing information to all stakeholders in complex value chains.
For example, software companies, for whom ties with independent developers, venture partners, and customers are a critical asset, actually dedicate senior executives and large departments solely to the management of alliances and partnerships. Recall that one-third of IBM’s revenue is generated through such collaborative partner relationships.
Kanter notes that such collaboration throughout today’s “extended enterprise” requires interpersonal as well as organizational sensitivity. Skills in listening, self-awareness, and ability to read others, along with a “dose of humility,” are vital.
Success comes from sharing information with partners, networking among all the stakeholders at multiple organizational levels, and keeping everybody’s interest in mind when crafting new business strategies. Michael Harris is a senior vice president, products and strategy at FileNet Corporation based in Costa Mesa, California. He believes that true “collaborative commerce” is based on an established strategy that combines content management and process management, and which integrates technologies to automate and streamline business processes among all four relationships: internal staff, external partners, suppliers, and customers.