Business Leaders See Collaboration Through Social And Business Networks As Key To Productivity, Competitive Advantage

In today’s global business environment, smart companies are learning to collaborate more efficiently, connecting and interacting with ever-expanding communities of customers, suppliers and peers. And they are, in the process, unleashing a new model for operating that is helping to improve their productivity, profits and ultimately, their advantage in an ultra-competitive marketplace.

How are they doing it? According to Collaborate to Win, a new report produced by CFO Research in collaboration with Ariba, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARBA), the world’s business commerce network, they are capitalizing on the convergence of recent technology trends, including cloud computing, mobility, social and business networks.

“Just as earlier forces such as desktop computers shifted the basis of productivity generation, so too are business networks changing how companies identify and work with all kinds of partners,” says Josh Hyatt, author of the report. “Businesses are learning how to collaborate more efficiently, digitally connecting and cooperating with people and entities both within and beyond the confines of their particular enterprise.”

Much as consumers tap into social networks to manage their personal connections, companies are with increasing frequency connecting to business networks to manage their trading relationships. Through more than a dozen in-depth interviews with executives, academics, consultants, and others, CFO Research sought to analyze how companies are leveraging these networks gain a competitive edge.

Their findings revealed that by communicating more freely with their employees, suppliers, and customers, companies can draw on previously untapped capabilities to address existing challenges and spot new opportunities. Doing so enables them to deliver value to every aspect of the business, from generating innovative product ideas to gaining valuable market insight. They can also incrementally increase profits.

“Mega-shifts in how technology is delivered, accessed, and used are heralding in a new era of knowledge sharing and collaboration,” says Tim Minahan, Chief Marketing Officer, Ariba. “Empowered by social tools and business networks, companies are now able to coordinate a virtual extraprise of partners into a shared community and execute processes in a more collaborative and informed way than in the past.”

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