16 Mar 2021

How technology can help businesses to co-create

Authors
Lawrence Landeloos

EY VODW and EY Belgium Consulting Executive Director

A conceptual thinker passionate about customer-centric innovation, future trends, and personal growth hacks.

Yannick Grecourt

EY Belgium Financial Services Consulting Leader, EY EMEIA Financial Services Digital Service Leader

Innovative leader. Passionate about understanding clients. Curious about new technology. Energized by team success. Married sailor with 2 daughters.

16 Mar 2021

Through innovation, digitalization and adaptability, a company can revitalize its sector and compete with the largest international groups. The secret? Strategic collaborations across sectors.

An alliance between two very different organizations that bring their assets - knowledge, products, technology, customers - together to achieve a common goal or solve a problem is not new. In the early 2000s, we used to talk about 'coopetition', a combination of cooperation and competition. Nevertheless, with digitalization, there is a real acceleration in this area. Technology allows us to remove certain barriers. Among other things, how we'll get access to the customer.

A single foundation: added value for the customer

All of these models, at the end of the day, are based on one thing: the added value that will be created for the end customer. The connection and collaboration between companies is facilitated by technology. Because a number of things can be automated, including data transfer, to better understand the customer and better anticipate their needs.

Is that just something for the big players? Not at all. If local companies want to stay competitive, they need to anchor themselves and form networks. Your customer expects that too. Because consumers are becoming more demanding, and they want a total solution.

Cross-sector collaborations are also particularly interesting for tackling the complex problems in our society. You transcend the pure profit mindset of the private sector. At the moment we still address the major social challenges around the environment, poverty, health, etc. too much with fragmented solutions. So you have to choose. Do we focus on one part of a problem and tackle it individually? Or do we bring all the parties together and look for an overall solution? There is a lot of power in the latter choice. You combine the innovations, the knowledge, and the branding of the private sector with the influence and reach of a government organization.

More than a medium, a tool to shape strategy

Certain conditions are essential for two companies in different industries to work together. The first is the creation of value for the end customer. When we talk about ecosystems, we need to pay attention to what is called phagocytosis in biology, a process that sees some microbes eating others. In other words, we have to make sure that we can share the value created. Not to mention, if we destroy value, it can cause conflict.

Another condition: an alignment of visions. You have to be transparent in this area. Being able to recognize that if there is no alignment of the visions of the stakeholders, it may be better not to go ahead.

Equality is also extremely important: both parties must derive equal benefit from the collaboration.

Finally, trust and flexibility: if something doesn't work, you can try again. Don't immediately start pointing the finger of blame, but make sure there is enough oxygen to make mistakes. That's why solid leadership is also important. That does require courage. Because there is a lot at stake, not only for your own organization and investments, but also for the others.

Belfius and Proximus : a client case.

Last summer, bank Belfius and telecom operator Proximus announced a far-reaching collaboration. Ultimately, Belfius will develop a fully digital banking offering for Proximus and Proximus will create customized telecom promotions for Belfius customers. 

Listen to the podcast to learn more about the collaboration between Belfius and Proximus.

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Summary

Strategic collaborations across sectors are getting a huge boost thanks to digitalization. The ultimate goal? To create clear added value for the customer. And ensuring that not only foreign Internet giants benefit from these opportunities.

About this article

Authors
Lawrence Landeloos

EY VODW and EY Belgium Consulting Executive Director

A conceptual thinker passionate about customer-centric innovation, future trends, and personal growth hacks.

Yannick Grecourt

EY Belgium Financial Services Consulting Leader, EY EMEIA Financial Services Digital Service Leader

Innovative leader. Passionate about understanding clients. Curious about new technology. Energized by team success. Married sailor with 2 daughters.