17 Dec The Knowledge Advantage – Intensifying Collaboration – Part II

This week, we continue our blog series on the Collaborative Knowledge and Competitive Advantage. Today’s post will focus on the need to intensify collaboration within organizations through integrated solutions that can quickly respond to customers’ needs.

Every enterprise recognizes the benefits of collaboration, including:

  • Increased efficiency of customer service by creating repeatable, superior experiences.
  • Better delivery of innovative products and solutions.
  • Accelerated growth.

However, many organizations struggle to transform themselves into more collaborative enterprises. For example, as we are in the middle of the holiday season, we all can relate to situations where enterprises clearly failed to collaborate to meet consumers’ expectations by not matching in-store and online advertised prices, lacking adequate inventory and failing to deliver products by the deadline.

To address the collaboration issue, companies need solutions “created through multidisciplinary, cross-functional teams*.” A decisive step towards making enterprises more efficient is the creation of horizontal teams. As organizations serve customers in a variety of vertical markets, horizontal teams that collaborate across departments and geographies have proven effective in responding to customers’ demands.

Collaborative enterprises have successfully invested in forming horizontal teams from R&D, manufacturing, marketing and sales that share critical knowledge with the purpose of improving customer experiences. For instance, a large pharmaceutical company, asked to produce millions of vaccines in a matter of weeks, had to form a horizontal team to work effectively and meet the deadline required to deliver the medication.

Creating a collaborative organization can be challenging to achieve as, in many instances, it will require the “development of new skills, mindsets, processes and capabilities*.”

Is your organization collaborative? Do you have any interesting examples to share?

*Industry Report: Collaborative Knowledge and Competitive Advantage, May 2005, New Paradigm