To do battle in an uncertain economy, companies have streamlined their operational and physical infrastructures, they’ve cut costs, and they’ve become increasingly dependent on external partners. This has caused them to change their partnering philosophies and has made collaboration with external customers, suppliers, and other partners vital to success.
In the not-too-distant past, suppliers were mostly valued for the contribution they could make to cost-cutting. To preserve their own margins—in defiance of downturns or cost increases—customers negotiated aggressively with their suppliers by hammering them hard on dollars. Rather than share information, customers kept it to themselves; by keeping their vendors in the dark, they could make any claims they wanted about how deeply prices needed to be slashed.
Advances in information technology—and increased sophistication about how best to use those tools—have helped push companies toward a more collaborative model of information-sharing and planning with their vendors. The technology, however, is only as useful as employees make it; they must be willing to adopt it and integrate it into their work. As more and more workers have come to rely on such tools as Twitter and Facebook to keep up with their friends—and also their friends’ friends’ friends—they’ve brought that collaborative mindset to their jobs.
The networked economy clearly makes a new kind of collaboration possible. Through more than a dozen in-depth interviews with practitioners, academics, consultants, and others, CFO Research Services* explores how smart companies are creating collaboration strategies using social tools and business networks to move beyond simply reducing operational costs to improving productivity, and ultimately, profits. Click here to learn more and read the recent published study: http://www.ariba.com/resources/library/collaborate-to-win
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* CFO Research Services is the sponsored research group within CFO Publishing LLC, which produces CFO magazine, CFO Conferences, and CFO.com.