If you’re like most executives, you’re not just curious about ecosystem collaboration—you’re convinced: According to our research, 86% of executives agree that multiparty system collaboration is "desperately needed" in their industries.  

You’ve heard the stories and seen the case studies showing how organizations are coming together to create value and, sometimes, entirely new markets. Even as far back as 2018, multiparty solutions from companies like SIAM Bank attained value quickly and continue to do so today. Executives also increasingly view ecosystems as a way to “collaborate through the chaos” of the pandemic and maximize their tech investments. 

So what separates the early adopters of the world from those who have yet to convene? Maybe it’s my 20 years in consulting talking, but I believe leaders already know why they need to do it—they just need the how. 

BY 2023, 60% OF ENTERPRISES

across the industry will share information and data to cloud-based ecosystems for enhanced operations, innovations, and collective monetization.

Moving past "partnership paralysis"

It’s one thing to continue procurement-as-usual and buy into a prebuilt vendor solution, but building something new and customized? With others? Possibly competitors? (That’s right: Accenture is engaged in more than 30 consortia, over 20 of which include direct competitors.) It’s a whole new ballgame. 

Despite the prospect of saving hundreds of millions down the line, people balk at the idea of opening up their processes to work with new partners. There are questions of funding, risk and countless what-ifs. I call this partnership paralysis—when you have the appetite but lack the operational approach to form a consortium with confidence. 

Multiparty system technologies are instrumental in driving up that confidence. By enhancing trust in data sharing, they eliminate many of the pain points of partnering up. In fact, 90% of executives agree they create a more resilient and adaptable ecosystem foundation to create new value with partners. 

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But it takes more than technology and data confidentiality to form a consortiumeverything from how you work together to how you do it responsibly is on the table for consideration. To start, let me paint a picture of the process from initial roadblocks all the way to deployment.

Pitfalls to watch for

To give you a leg up on what to expect, let’s outline a few common challenges I’ve seen over my six years in this space. The good news? Every single one of them is manageable from the outset. 

  • Lack of a common purpose. A shared vision and willingness to innovate across all parties is essential. Take automakers Ford and Volkswagen, who formed an alliance around electric vehicle (EV) and self-driving car technology in 2019 to share costs in response to tectonic market shifts that all original equipment manufacturers are facing. 
  • Competitive conditioning - We’re wired by the age-old imperative to constantly drive competitive advantage, but it can really get in the way of your network’s larger vision for your industry. This is why the common purpose is so powerful. 
  • The zero-sum game. Trying to suss out how one party can gain value at the expense of another is naturally toxic to the group. Assess the impact of your value pools across your ecosystem, and understand that new value is shared, not extracted by any one participant. 
  • Focusing on technology vs. collaboration. Think first about the collaborative business model and then consider how technology enables it. 
  • Getting the right people at the table. It can be a tough to bring the right stakeholders and influencers on board when procurement officers are used to buying solutions off the shelf. Not to mention, you’ll need to bring in a new round of players as you move stage to stage, evolving your solution and strategy as you go.

The 3-part process

In addition to implementing data confidentiality across the ecosystem via multiparty systems, our phased methodology helps ensure everyone is properly incentivized and set up to evolve for long-term success. 

At a high level, here’s the gist: 

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How it looks in practice: Operations and deployment

A solid consortium operating model incorporates the following right from the start: 

  • Governance (When consortiums struggle, it’s because they don’t have good governance) 
  • Commercial + technology layers 
  • Network operations
  • And your plans for going to market, network expansion and continuous improvement 

    Generally, a strong operating model includes a functional steering committee, a technical steering committee and a board of directors to drive effective collaboration. After you make key foundational decisions, such as whether to form a new entity or pursue joint-ownership, you’ll also identify who will call the shots in the future.  

    From a deployment perspective, we’re starting to see three models play out: 

    • Not for profit - This model tends to serve industry-wide solutions, such as the creation of standards like the GS1 for U.P.C. Barcodes or vehicle identification numbers for cars. The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is a not-for-profit consortium that started out creating standards and has evolved to building infrastructure to generate even more value from the ecosystem it created. 
    • Founder-led - Here, a central deployment leader owns the ecosystem and drives how it’s realized and how participants share data. Usually, this party is already in a position to set industry standardsas is the case with the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), which is replacing its infrastructure with a multiparty system solution.  
    • Vendor-led - While we’ve been talking about consortiums, we’ve seen a number of vendors stepping in to solve the ecosystems problem. They use traditional startup model funding mechanisms like investors or passing the plate to future parties in the ecosystem to bring a solution to the market.  

      Worth noting: With multiparty systems, support is very different. In the absence of your standard vendor-to-consumer relationship, you’ll have to define how your participants negotiate major decisions, change requests, problems, reconciliation, roadmap sharing and more.

      Find your starting point

      Based on our work with over 30 different consortia, this much is true: Collaboration doesn’t kill competition—it reinvigorates it, creating new pools of value out of faster, more accurate, more trusted processes and customer experiences. With a shared vision and the right operational approach, businesses can bring even the staunchest competitors together to unlock long-term shared value at industry level. 

      If you haven’t thought where your multiparty system opportunities lie, our Shared Brilliance Multiplies Resilience report is a good place to start. There we explore how ecosystem collaboration is redefining the future of moneysupply chains and digital identity in the wake of COVID-19.   

      If you're already partnering up around your own use cases—let’s see where you’re at and customize your next steps to help you get it right.

      Got half an hour? Check out my video breakdown of this post.

       


      Disclaimer: This document is intended for general informational purposes only does not take into account the reader’s specific circumstances, and may not reflect the most current developments. Accenture disclaims, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, any and all liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information in this presentation and for any acts or omissions made based on such information. Accenture does not provide legal, regulatory, audit, or tax advice. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel or other licensed professionals. Accenture, its logo, and Let There Be Change are trademarks of Accenture.  

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      Melanie Cutlan

      Managing Director – Blockchain MPS Co-Lead

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