Why co-opetition is the key to solving future global challenges

  • Solutions
  • AI and Automation
  • Cameron MacQuarrie
  • 2022
18 October 2022

Co-opetition: 4 workers gathered around conference room table

We all know that co-opetition is when competitors come together to solve a common challenge. But what is a little less certain is what it’s actually good for.

Well, there are already a range of organisations quickly catching on to the benefits of this new way of working, whether it’s mobile giants O2, Three and Vodafone working together to bring 4G to UK’s “not-spots”, Pfizer and BioNTech collaborating on the COVID vaccine, or Tesla opening its Supercharger network to other EV cars.

Whatever the industry, it’s a question of working together to accelerate change in industries that sorely need it. And the bigger the challenge, the bigger the solution needs to be – just look at the COVID pandemic, Brexit, and the push for ESG as examples.

Going at it alone is no longer a smart, or viable, business strategy in this new global economy. Competitors must come together to find new and agile solutions to drive true innovation.

How companies can get started with co-opetition

But how do companies actually do this?

In order to overcome the challenges of the day while still giving current customers a slick digital experience, organisations must rethink how they work with their competition. It involves building trust – internally and externally – and focusing that trust on a common problem.

That’s easier said than done, however.

In 2018, the European payments legislation, PSD2, had legacy banks request customers to share their data with third-party providers.

The goal was to propel banking into a modern way of managing their money, effectively creating new opportunities for establishment banks to level the playing field with digital-first challenger banks.

But there were challenges. Many Brits were content with their current services, and weren’t interested in using other institutions, and legacy banks were hesitant to risk customer loyalty with an untested methodology.

However, the leap was well rewarded: working with fintech start-ups allowed banks to develop new services and products, improving their client experience so much that currently 5 million Britons use new banking services built on open banking technology.

Now, research shows almost a third (31%) of consumers have at least two bank accounts, with 24% saying it was for customer service reasons, and 23% saying they wanted to take advantage of better online offers.

There were, of course, challenges before getting to this point. But the steps banking took to enhance its legacy technology with fintech APIs sets a precedent for monolithic organisations hesitant to step into the future.

Look at the sustainability sector as another example of moving in the right direction. Current events have meant big energy companies are coming together and finding ways to move away from gas, oil and coal and towards building renewable infrastructure. For instance, BP and their competitor Equinor are partnering up to develop offshore wind ports in New York and Massachusetts.

Getting co-opetition to work

But what’s tying these competitors together?

Put simply, the answer is technology. The right solutions not only enable streamlined data sharing, but also use automation to free up internal teams so they can focus on higher-value tasks.

Take ServiceNow’s client, BT, as an example. The organisation wanted to disrupt the telecoms landscape by rethinking the customer experience. It took what the ServiceNow platform does well in the back-end and applied it to the front-end, empowering customers with better visibility into BT’s services.

As a result, BT can upgrade customers 1,000 times faster, launching key services within days – instead of weeks – and at a fraction of the cost.

The future of co-opetition

For organisations hesitant to move forward into the age of co-opetition, consider this: when the data and insight you need is available immediately, you can spot pain points or discover new opportunities and take action instantly. But it’s impossible to do that in a vacuum.

By working with competitors, you’re increasing your chances of tackling growing challenges. You might bring the right technology, while your competitor brings the right API.

Put it all together on the right platform, and you get a powerful solution that can take on bigger challenges – driving growth and enhancing the overall customer experience.

I’ve recently spent time talking about this topic with the ServiceNow team on our latest TV show. Watch it on-demand and find out more.

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