From digital transformation and blurred boundaries between industries to new and strong competitors, companies have faced a lot of challenges in recent years. But responding to them while keeping pace with the rapid rate of change is difficult ...
From digital transformation and blurred boundaries between industries to new and strong competitors, companies have faced a lot of challenges in recent years. But responding to them while keeping pace with the rapid rate of change is difficult when you’re operating on your own. That is why companies and agencies are increasingly looking for alliances; in other words, collaborations with other businesses. Such cooperations make it easier to develop innovative and effective solutions together and maintain a market presence. The last few years have seen a wide range of interesting concepts for how alliances can be implemented and the benefits that company collaborations can offer.
Business ecosystems as a model of the future for SMEs
Many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are facing one of the biggest upheavals in years, as the rapid progress of the digital transformation is challenging established business models and proven strategies. Digital and agile start-ups are capturing the market and posing a serious risk for traditional companies. The problem for the latter is that they need to keep updating old corporate structures and processes if they want to stay competitive, but it is impossible to achieve this overnight.
Many SMEs are increasingly switching to what are called business ecosystems and entering into collaborations with several other companies. The aim of these business alliances is to create an innovative foundation for developing new products and services in a way that would be out of reach for companies operating on their own. There are a range of ways for partners to come together and create value networks, from cooperating with startups and crowdsourcing to a platform economy.
But before SMEs decide to create business ecosystems, they need to be aware of one thing: collaboration involves a great deal of coordination effort for everyone involved, as well as mutual dependencies. Liability and data protection also play an important role.
Corporate venture building – safeguarding the future of SMEs
Corporate venture building (CVB) is another business model that gives corporations the opportunity to implement long-term innovations quickly with external help. CVB involves a company creating a separate, independent company in the form of a startup, which works with business processes and structures that are fundamentally different from those of the parent company. Although the startup is separate, the overarching strategic goals still apply at all times. Companies can expect to benefit from these startup alliances in a range of ways, for example:
Developing new business models
Providing complementary products or services
Tapping into new markets
Boosting the drive to produce innovations
Corporate venture building can only succeed, however, if clear requirements are set out in advance. Other key prerequisites include clearly defined priorities and support from experienced CVB managers and founders. In addition, the corporate goals must remain paramount at all times, and support from the CEO must be guaranteed.
Customized agencies: specialization vs full service
In the past, traditional full-service agencies provided their customers with everything they could want, from market research and creation right through to marketing. These days, however, the rapid pace of the digital transformation means that customer companies are looking to form alliances with customized agency models.
Existing agencies are facing significant challenges, including committing to continuing training on new digital tools and methods, and providing consulting services at a consistently high level. Since it is almost impossible for full-service agencies to keep up with the pace of change in all areas, specialization is unavoidable.
If agencies want to establish themselves as long-term partners in the minds of their customers, they will need to become more agile and flexible in the future. Customers are looking for customized agencies that can offer them specialized expertise that provides specific added value, and that means agencies have to dismantle their existing structure and find new forms of collaboration. Using digital technologies and implementing new digital strategies will optimize internal co-working and encourage creativity. Working with freelancers from a wide range of fields is also the perfect way for agencies to bring in fresh momentum and start to innovate themselves.
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