Why Every Enterprise Should Build Collaborative Ecosystems

Author: Jim Lundy
Date: September 11, 2013
Topic: Collaboration
Research Note Number: 2013-28


Issue: What technologies and architectures should enterprises leverage?
Issue: What are the best practices for using collaboration to gain a competitive advantage?

Summary: External collaboration with customers, partners or suppliers can yield tremendous competitive advantage and boost your bottom line. Use a systematic approach to develop a sound and successful strategy for building collaborative ecosystems and communities. 


Many enterprise collaboration systems were designed only for internal collaboration, but external collaboration is also a natural part of doing business, and doing it successfully can improve your bottom line. This is because partners, suppliers and customers outside the company hold crucial information that can affect your company’s finances positively or negatively, depending on how it is used – or misused.

Making external collaboration successful doesn’t just happen naturally – you’ll need a well-defined strategy and a cross-functional team of legal, IT and business-unit leaders, along with people from the organizations you want to collaborate with. This research note presents an overall approach to building a collaborative ecosystem for B2B communities, including:

  • Deciding who to collaborate with
  • Assigning responsibility for assets such as content ownership
  • Managing the duration of the collaborative relationship
  • Choosing technology tools to support external collaboration

Aragon Advisory

  • Establish a team with representatives from IT, legal and each business unit that conducts external collaboration. Ensure representatives from each partner organization are included as well.
  • Make the internal team the core group for internal as well as external collaboration initiatives.
  • Define the duration of the collaboration with external partners.
  • Define and assign roles and responsibilities for areas such as ownership of content and the virtual collaborative space or technology used.
  • The team should make technology selections and map them to business use cases.
  • Foster a socially collaborative environment internally and with partners by ensuring the right tools and business incentives are in place to support it.

Bottom Line

Companies increasingly recognize the increasing need for better collaboration, not only internally but also with external partners and customers. This growing population of stakeholders requires continual interaction. Enterprises find themselves in intersecting communities needing efficient methods of communications. They need to develop a comprehensive collaboration strategy to ensure that they select the right team and the right technology tools for the right business purposes.


This is part of Aragon’s archived research. 
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