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High-tech innovation hinges on business networks

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The high-tech industry thrives on innovation. Success in this hyper-competitive sector depends on advancing technology and coming up with new solutions to business problems.

In their drive to innovate, high-tech companies face tremendous challenges. Like other industries, they’re struggling with a volatile economy and relentless inflation. Sustainability requirements are growing, along with the need to become more customer centric.

In order to stay competitive in this environment, high-tech companies need to leverage the power of business networks to support their growth and development.

Collaboration is key to high-tech innovation

We met with Jeff Hojlo, IDC’s Research Vice President, Future of Industry Ecosystems, Innovation Strategies, and Energy Insights, to explore trends in the high-tech industry and the growing role of business networks for driving innovation.

The industry operates in a unique ecosystem where horizontal collaboration is crucial for success, Hojlo said. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into various sectors, high-tech companies need to collaborate closely with other industries to meet evolving customer needs.

For example, chip makers need to work closely with automakers as vehicles become more autonomous and electric. Electronics manufacturers must collaborate with medical device makers to ensure patient health and safety.

High-tech collaboration can take the form of joint ventures and ecosystem partnerships, enabling co-innovation.

An IDC survey of more than 1,200 tech companies found that 40% view business networks as essential to their ecosystem.

Business networks are most effective when they’re flexible, with support for on-demand procurement, sourcing, service and more, according to IDC.

Building a business ecosystem: 4 key elements

The truth is that no company can meet the requirements of a demanding customer base all alone. Industries, business segments, and companies have to combine their know-how, expertise, and information to offer a comprehensive product or solution.

The rise of industry clouds in high-tech

Industry clouds provide access to data, applications, and expertise that organizations may not have themselves. These platforms help businesses share insights, optimize operations, and drive closer engagement with customers.

Hojlo cited several examples:

  1. Catena X Consortium is an open digital ecosystem for the automotive industry where companies can share data and services. Founders include BMW, Deutsche Telekom, and SAP; Mercedes Benz and Henkel are among those that have joined the initiative.
  2. Xometry is an on-demand industrial parts marketplace providing a range of services, from prototyping to manufacturing, through a network of more than 10,000 suppliers.
  3. NEXT Cloud from Panasonic provides next-generation avionics features and services.

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Better, longer-lasting customer relationships

The drive towards everything-as-a-service is transforming industries, including high-tech. By creating new subscription services, the model offers the opportunity to build deeper and longer relationships with customers and consumers.

“Business networks play a crucial role in enabling closer engagement with customers – from sensing demand to delivering products to providing proactive and predictive service,” Hojlo said.

Another way high-tech companies can boost customer engagement is by adopting a blended physical and digital approach. This improves the overall customer experience by providing seamless interactions throughout the customer lifecycle.

Compute this: For tech industry, the future is customer service

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The collective drive towards sustainability

With increasing regulations and increasing consumer demand, environmental sustainability and social governance demands are growing across industries.

High-tech organizations realize that (ESG) challenges require a collective effort. “This is simply too complex an issue and initiative for any single company to address on its own,” Hojlo said.

Cross-domain and cross-ecosystem ESG teams can develop and operate sustainable ecosystem practices. These teams collaborate and innovate through cloud-based platforms, shared data, and applications.

According to IDC, 60% of G2000 organizations will form cross-ecosystems ESG teams by 2025.

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Benefits of industry ecosystems for high-tech innovation

Focusing on industry ecosystems helps vendors and their partners in the high-tech industry to adopt everything-as-a-service models and speed innovation, Hojlo said.

An ecosystem of partners with shared data, operations, and expertise makes the service-based approach possible. The benefits include:

  1. Product and service quality
  2. Flexible operations
  3. Ability to respond quickly to customer demand

Altogether, business networks give high-tech companies the ability to adapt to rapid changes and market conditions. By embracing them, organizations can be resilient and drive growth.

Innovate at the speed of NOW.
High-tech companies: it starts HERE!

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