"Just as earlier forces such as desktop computers shifted the basis of productivity generation, so too are business networks changing how companies identify and work with all kinds of partners," says Josh Hyatt, author of the report. "Businesses are learning how to collaborate more efficiently, digitally connecting and cooperating with people and entities both within and beyond the confines of their particular enterprise."
Much as consumers tap into social networks to manage their personal connections, companies are with increasing frequency connecting to business networks to manage their trading relationships. Through more than a dozen in-depth interviews with executives, academics, consultants, and others, CFO Research sought to analyze how companies are leveraging these networks gain a competitive edge.
Their findings revealed that by communicating more freely with their employees, suppliers and customers, companies can draw on previously untapped capabilities to address existing challenges and spot new opportunities. Doing so enables them to deliver value to every aspect of the business, from generating innovative product ideas to gaining valuable market insight. They can also incrementally increase profits.
This emerging form of collaboration, according to Hyatt, has the potential to reshape the competitive landscape. "Network-based collaborative tools have just begun to change how employees work together and how enterprises manage their outside relationships," he writes. "But in an ultracompetitive era populated by lean businesses, collaboration can drive productivity and lift financial performance."
The report is available for download, click here.
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