Many large consumer products companies are pulling services back in-house because they feel they have to own their related processes more closely, as that's the only way to become more responsive to the changing consumer.
But the challenge isn’t about owning scale, it's about putting the consumer at the center of your strategy and creating an operating model that enables the organization to apply scale dynamically. For example, Airbnb doesn’t own properties; it connects the consumer to an ecosystem of providers.
Across the future consumer scenarios we’ve modeled, it takes a complex ecosystem of organizations working together to win the consumer. These ecosystems are always led by one dominant player – the ecosystem orchestrator. It’s their role to coordinate a fragmented network of partners and suppliers, accessing and deploying scale in a dynamic way, as and when it gives them a competitive advantage. Could you play that role in your categories?
Buy, build or partner?
Three key factors can help you decide whether to build, buy or partner to get the scale you need: Does the capability differentiate? How fast do you need to move? Are there existing skills you can build on? Long-term answers must also be informed by your purpose. When purpose is closely aligned, partnership is an option. If not, a transactional relationship is likely to be more effective.
Closer partnership is not always the right option. Even so, you can still make sure that integrated, outsourced or shared services are not standard, generic services. With the right technology, you can build greater flexibility into most processes. Dynamic scale can let you focus on the business outcome you want, without having to control how it is achieved. So, have you got the balance right?