Monday, November 8, 2010

A slice of new products and services via vendor co-creation

Beside your enterprise and your customers, there is a rich layer of vendors your enterprise deals with. You deal with these vendors as they fulfill certain purposes of your business. Invariably these vendors develop fertile characteristics which are a mix of deep understanding of your business, solid technical know how and awareness of what else is happening in the industry you operate in.

Above attributes put your vendors in a unique position which you may not like to ignore.

There are various ways you could benefit from this, and the most promising could be how you could tap into this relevant talent beyond your primary reason of engaging with these vendors. For example you might be dealing with your vendors to provide you with a spare part, raw material, a particular service or a piece of software. Now is there a way you could tap into the peripheral talent of these vendors and their employees to add credible value to the tasks which you do in-house?

Obviously the first question to ask and to figure out is if your enterprise has such vendors; with whom you have been dealing with for a while, and over the years have developed a potential which could be tapped?

Second important question to ask is – is it possible to tap into this talent without being intrusive with your vendor’s talent and w/o violating contractual or IP issues. Part of the answer for this question could be to do this co-creation along with the existing projects / contracts. When co-creation is done as part of bigger engagement, it has a lesser chance of being looked as intrusive. When co-creation is implemented with a clear purpose, IP issues could be addressed upfront and hence managed better.

Clients have been always asking for additional value (and that additional slide on value proposition has been part of your selling deck ever since), now it appears that clients have started to look into more systematic ways of getting there, and vendor co-creation seems to be paving the way for it.

As a vendor, being partner in co-creation can add a tremendous differentiators, which can help you create client stickiness you always welcome, and a value proposition which can elevate your bid vis-à-vis your competition.

As usual only a win-win proposition stand a chance, both you as a vendor to your client, and you as a client to your vendor can benefit from Vendor co-creation.

This article is inspired by my recent discussion with Vikesh Mehta, General Manager Enterprise innovation and Pavan Soni, innovation evangelist at Wipro Technologies.

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