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Introduction ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc
It has been quite a long time since the established ways of conducting business have changed and paved
way for the technological innovations to seep into the organization fabric and become a part & parcel of
the daily life. Business to business communication has never been richer before, largely attributed to the
advent of internet and World Wide Web. The result is an increased focus on coordinating business
activity and team within and across organizations.

Looking at the main drivers for the changes, we come across three large scale socio-economic factors:

1. a oba ization: No doubt, the global customer bases, network of partners, supplier base and
competition are forcing the companies to become leaner, flexible, focusing on internal strengths
to keep them differentiated. What makes it more prominent is the shifting of priorities from within
the traditional organization boundaries to the outside world.

2. Business Transparency: Notwithstanding the regulations forced by governments across


countries, the customers & investors have become more demanding in terms of ensuring
transparency about the business viz. processes, resources used, interaction modes with their
immediate environment etc.

3. Shifting Trends: The mass availability of high speed communication networks is fast changing
the ways in which consumers, suppliers, governments and markets interact. The manifestation of
the consumer behaviour in this new environment is of particular interest to companies and they
need to connect to these evolved markets in the right ways.

In response to these pressures, organizational business models have changed dramatically to


accommodate the following changes:

1. Driven by demand, not supp y: ³Push´ models can succeed in those environments where
customer demands are predictable. Marketers these days are more interested in driving the
business activity through actual customer demand. Rather than trying to tame demand patterns
through sophisticated forecasting tools, a ³Pull´ model is one which accepts unpredictability.

2. Innovation, the buzz word: The importance of innovation has never been undermined by
organizations. In fact, innovations are what which can make the business or disrupt them
completely. Moving apart from traditional innovation sources, companies are now looking towards
their supplier, partner networks, academia and customers to uncover hidden needs and realize
innovations.

3. Interna and externa co aboration: Evolution of man into the master he is today has only been
possible due to the positive collaboration he has established with his fellow beings. This has long
been understood by organizations but never before been taken so seriously. Here comes the
change driver for the next generation of business growth in the form of collaboration, both inside
and outside the boundaries of the organization. A decentralized organizational structure is what
business pundits have been advocating for better execution of tasks. But this fragmentation
poses serious threats to the collaborative framework inside the organizations. Companies have
been increasingly waking up to this factor and trying to make amends. Similarly, they are also
vying for developing collaborative networks with everybody in their immediate environment
including competitors to not only increasing the size of their own pie but that of the whole cake.

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The New Frontier: F exib e Business Co aboration
Collaboration is the path to win in this flat world. Companies are looking forward to co-creation of
products and services with partners and customers to accelerate innovation cycles. They are also
focused on the value chain to have insights into demand patterns and supply information, so as to adapt
to rapidly changing business cycles. Collaboration is the crucial word for breaking the so called
µinformation silos¶ that form at different parts of the value chain and enabling organizations to optimize
cost structures.

View of Co - Innovation

Innovation in the IT services market depends upon the nature of technology changes and its direct impact
on the market. Primarily the major part of revenues is repeat business which focuses on Technology
enabled growth and COEs. But the stiff competition in the existing market to acquire new clients has
forced organizations to change their modus operandi. Thus it becomes imperative to build a sustainable
co-innovative model with clients and partners which primarily would seek to do the following:
ñ Establishing new markets
ñ Building relationships with new clients
ñ Increasing revenues from existing clients

Since client is at the center of the business, the model of co-innovation would ensure the following
benefits:

1. ^eduction in Comp exity: With the increase in the number of technologies it is becomes
difficult for a particular firm to build expertise on all the skills and create a central knowledge
base. Collaboration with partners helps in a symbiotic relationship that helps in reducing
complexity.
2. Competitive Advantage: Reduction in R&D costs through outsourcing is no more a
differentiator for organizations. Collaboration helps in leveraging each partner¶s expertise to
generate new values.
3. Using Partners Capabi ities: The lack of expertise on any particular domain can be bridged by
utilizing partner¶s technical knowhow and expertise thus increasing responsiveness and lowering
time to deliver and avoiding cost of full time staff.
4. Higher ^ I: Co-innovation would ensure increase revenues and superior value.
5. Integration across various functional domains
6. Business and IT Transformation

Co-Innovation Framework

The co-innovation framework (Exhibit ± I) involves having a client centric collaborative innovation
ecosystem. It would provide a holistic approach to end-to-end solution building. It can span across
various entities such as
1. Academia
2. Technology Leaders
3. Dedicated Labs for Co-Innovation
4. Entrepreneurs
5. Clients

This framework helps in de-risking the client partner portfolio by addressing client¶s strategic business
needs. This also focuses on establishing engagement with specific partners such as Joint IP, solution
development and ensuring periodic review by stakeholders for the engagement on effectiveness.
All the business units of the organization need to identify enterprise wide applications and map business
processes with them. Valuation of each application should be done through user surveys and cost-risk
analysis and appropriate scores should be provided. This should be followed by portfolio profiling and
redundancy analysis. Finally the strategies would be rationalized by following cost benefit analysis and
risk mitigation.

Approach
With the framework at place, the next step would be implementing the same by following the below
mentioned procedure (Appendix ± II) :

1. Initiation: This stage involves identification and selection of prospect companies through
relationships with clients, incubators and researchers.
2. Prudence: This process reduces the risk for customer on sustainability of technology, helps in
market maturity, and improving the financial stability of company. It helps in creating synergies
in Technology, Business and Market.
3. So ution Deve opment: It entails identifying potential solutions and innovations in association
with Cognizant¶s internal assets and its collaborations. Once such solution is identified it will be
driven by a dedicated manager.
4. Imp ementation: Here the solution is ready for deployment with clients.

Innovation Management
The framework would enable to foster an environment for encouraging new ideas. It would ensure that
investments are made in the right ideas by following a systematic process of developing ideas from
initiation to implementation. It would lead to leveraging investment models by ensuring traceable
relationship between funding and reward.

For continuous innovation the following steps need to be implemented:

1. New concept generation: This involves brainstorming with account teams, corporate team the
business units and industry partners.
2. Concept eva uation: Evaluation of concepts would be done in association with client innovation
committees.
3. Concept imp ementation: This is two pronged approach that would focus on process and
technology innovation. Technology innovation would follow the software development life cycle,
i.e., requirement gathering, generating business case, development, testing and implementation.
Process innovation involves study of existing processes, building prototypes for the processes,
modifying the process, integration testing and deploying into production setup.
4. Cost Benefit Ana ysis: It would involve analyzing the ROI benefits based on results and
feedback achieved.

We go through some of the important questions that arise in light of managing such complex co-
innovation model.
How to deve op the cu ture of co-innovation?

This can be done by organizing training, workshops, talks, creativity and interactive sessions for all
associates.

How to foster innovation management?

Every account should be responsible to ideate on one particular theme. This can be done in collaboration
with client teams. Depending upon the feasibility of the proposed idea, this initiative can be taken forward
with the account.

How to bui d on the innovations?

Innovations are on- going processes. Periodically there should be alignment with business and every
investment made should be backed with credible reasons and the same should be communicated to the
customer.

What shou d be the frequency of conducting new experiments?

Discussions with clients can be held on a monthly basis. The timelines should be earmarked and should
be strictly tracked to closure.

How to present the innovation mode s to customers?

Initially by the help of web technology and arranging virtual meetings the idea can be shared with the
client. Even annual workshops to showcase innovated models can be conducted on a large scale having
participation from a wide range of stakeholders.

^oad Ahead
With this new collaboration model in place, interaction environments can be shaped by the work that
people do in practice, rather than being shaped by rigid design assumptions. It¶s still early days for the
new collaboration model, but it makes business sense for organizations to start taking advantage of the
opportunities already present. The first step is to analyze the business areas which will most quickly
benefit from the technologies that are woven into this collaboration fabric, and start planning some early
implementations of the elements which make most sense. Organizations that do so will be able to more
effectively respond to their market demands, engage broad communities in the search for and application
of innovation, and find it easier to focus more on the business activities that differentiate them.c
Appendix - I

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Appendix ± II