Stunning Source of Power for Future Business Models

The power and the profit for any organization now is within its network rather than within any organization’s individual capabilities. Future success for all types of organizations will depend on effective partnering and collaboration.

This is much more than a mind shift from competition to co-opetition. Or to coalitions and alliances. The next business model for many organizations will come from exploiting connected reality.

The growth of the Internet of Things with connected devices collecting and sending data is helping businesses interact with customers and offer innovative new services and solutions. This rapid growth of the Internet of Things now has forecasters anticipating the next generation will be the Internet of Everything. Exciting opportunities will come from these networks of connected capabilities.   

Businesses, as well as associations and nonprofits, will be providing bundles of personalized and flexible products and services they build through their connections across their value chain and deep into their customer relationships.  For nonprofits and associations with chapters, their network strength already is shifting more into their online communities of clients and partners.  The challenge becomes providing value along the different touch points and helping clients and members navigate within an ecosystem of resources and solutions.

It will become increasingly difficult to define which organization is delivering the solution and who owns the client/customer/member; satisfied customers don’t really care. The greatest barrier to doing incredible things through connected reality could be worrying about who gets the credit.  The credit belongs to the relationship, the source of this power.

One intriguing shift from these network effects is businesses operating with a freemium business model. They get to scale using a freemium model then offer enticing upgrades to premium services. Associations are also intrigued by this business model, but the path to this low-cost, high-impact model is hard to see. The risk could be somewhat mitigated if multiple collaborators are pooling resources in a value chain for some mutual benefit.    

Trust and technologies for communication and coordination are the critical elements in creating a connected community. Fortunately associations and nonprofits typically enjoy lots of social capital that yields trust. What challenges them is finding the money to invest in the communication and coordination technologies to capitalize on these relationships.

Should either trust or communication capabilities breakdown, business customers and association members will leave the offending communities and migrate to safer sources of services.  And that abandonment can happen at the speed of social media.

Is it any wonder association executives feel a little off-balance these days?  The power of associating is unleashing risks and capabilities even the experts in human collaboration find stunning.