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Spoonfeedin WOrld

World – The Collaboration Imperative

Vineet Nayar

This is the Version 2.0 era. We have seen the rise of Web 2.0 technologies; companies are using Enterprise 2.0 tools; and in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, the world’s leaders are trying to create Capitalism 2.0. As companies wade through these challenging times, I see a distinct shift towards another new paradigm: Collaboration 2.0.

There’s growing recognition everywhere of the need for corporations to collaborate with government, with customers, with NGOs, with stakeholders–and even with competition. In order to survive, business requires the cover of a collaborative ecosystem that will probably render obsolete traditional views of competition.

Smart companies have realized the need to reinvent and align employees’ roles with organizational goals in a democratic way, and the next walls they must bring down are those between their customers and them. In the case of technology outsourcing companies, for instance, clients are not looking merely to reduce IT costs, which constitute just 3% to 10% of their revenues. They want outsourcing companies to share their long-term vision, risks, and rewards. Suppliers will earn customers’ trust if they agree to pay penalties if they fail to enhance the latter’s bottom lines and earn a share of the additional profits if they do. That’s Collaboration 2.0.

Offshore initiatives will also need to be more collaborative with local communities. Whether it is the United Kingdom, the United States, or Europe, the ability to demonstrate that companies are adding value to the communities in which they operate–and not just taking away jobs–will go a long way in ensuring success.

Companies should bring down the fences to help customers get through the recession so they can reap benefits later. IT companies are shifting from being technology problem-solvers to business problem-solvers so their customers can become more competitive. A good example of this is the SAP EcoHub, which provides customers a pool of solutions on a common platform. The EcoHub provides customers an online supermarket where they can find all the components they need to develop end-to-end solutions. It connects companies to partners and developers on the same platform. This allows customers to make informed choices and generate better returns on investment by reducing integration costs. SAP’s approach befits the emerging Collaboration 2.0 landscape.

The recession has sent us a signal: Size does not matter. Big companies are often slow, lethargic, and arrogant. If innovation has to drive us out of this recession, the best brains must come together to create value. That will happen only if we start believing in the power of Collaboration 2.0.

I do. Do you?

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September 26, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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