Seven: Forming more partnerships and networks with customers
Accenture’s survey results suggest that coping with rapid technology change, new competitors, and more diverse customers increasingly requires a focus on external networks and partnerships. Ninety percent of firms said enhancing partnerships and networks with customers formed a major imperative coming out of the downturn — an even higher percentage than those who highlighted the importance of cutting costs.
Building and improving these partnerships and networks with customers is one of the top operational imperatives that drive decisions around firms’ global operating models.
Firms such as Cisco and EMC have shown that choices around partnerships and networks are as operational as they are strategic, requiring a firm-wide focus on external collaborations to better serve customers, grasp new opportunities, and more effectively manage risk.
Eight: Capitalizing on emerging markets
Emerging markets offer outstanding opportunities for firms in the global operations arena. According to our research, 89 percent of respondents will show growth in at least one aspect of their operations within emerging markets. Respondents most often cited manufacturing, marketing and sales, and sourcing as growth activities in emerging markets. Research and development was also chosen as an activity that will show growth in emerging markets.
However, operating in emerging markets is often more difficult than many firms expect, and requires new and different ways of organizing processes, people and assets. Many activities can be adapted locally within broad frameworks set by headquarters. The challenge, though, is identifying which activities should be customized for local or regional markets, and which should be centralized or outsourced to reap efficiencies.
Winning companies make these decisions with both their competitive essence and the customer experience firmly in mind.
Beginning now, firms in this industry should look hard at whether their operating models successfully support their competitive essence. Otherwise, it is only a matter of time before investments go astray, veering from the company’s true strategic course and the fulfillment of its value proposition to customers.
They specifically need to reassess the readiness of their IT and talent for meeting the imperatives of tomorrow. Too many companies are undervaluing these critical levers, which provide the mechanisms to generate and spread new ideas, and provide the connection points between the company and its ecosystem of partners, suppliers and customers. The path to high performance requires these actions now.
For a copy of the complete set of survey findings, please visit
Armen Ovanessoff is a Senior Research Fellow in Accenture’s Institute for High Performance. He can be reached at [email protected] .