Together, More Than Ever: The Rise of Multiparty Systems


The pandemic has made it clear that companies cannot navigate through disruption and uncertainty alone. Multiparty systems are needed.

The digital age has evolved the way business is conducted. Data analytics, the cloud, and mobility allow companies to share insights and services in ways that were previously unimaginable. However, despite widespread investments in transformation technologies, until recently, most businesses had never really changed the way they partner. COVID-19 changed that resulting in a rise in multiparty systems.

The pandemic has made it clear that companies can’t navigate through disruption and uncertainty alone and that new ways of partnering are required – now, not in some distant future.

Take the supply chain as an example. Before COVID, many firms still relied on physical paper trails and outdated processes. Often, businesses found themselves locked in single-partner relationships because working with an established vendor or supplier was much easier than onboarding someone new. It’s little surprise that when the pandemic hit, 94% of Fortune 1000 businesses reported supply chain disruptions.

As organizations look to the future, there’s now a clear imperative to build a resilient, adaptable, and trustworthy foundation for partnerships. Coordinated, strategic ecosystems will not only enable companies to address disruption, but they’ll also allow for ways to create new interactions or discover new ways to approach a market. In fact, these partnerships will start to blur industry boundaries or even create wholly new industries.

When you’re better able to transact, share data, and shift between partners seamlessly and securely, you have an advantage in driving not just business but industry-level change. Companies that build these advantages on technology and sustain them by committing to a new approach to partnerships will thrive in the years ahead.

Accenture’s 2021 Technology Vision report outlines three key things for organizations to consider when looking to build ecosystem-wide collaborations:

1) Connect in the cloud

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of the cloud as enterprises pivoted to distributed, remote working. Simultaneous and accelerated cloud adoption is creating a network effect that will lead to new services, business models, and value generation. As companies merge and combine their growing cloud capabilities, new partnerships will be forged and industry boundaries challenged.

The resulting ecosystems are generating novel solutions – and new expectations for whole industries. For instance, industry-focused clouds are creating a customized environment for industries with specific requirements and challenges, such as regulatory controls, inconsistent network access, and data governance needs.

The approach delivers exciting ways to create new products. For example, Honeywell partnered with SAP to create a building management platform. With the new harmonized data structure, building owners view all operational and business insights through a single dashboard, creating easier pathways toward realizing their goals.

2) Transform partnerships with multiparty systems

Multiparty systems (MPS) underpin the increasingly necessary approaches to partnering. MPS rebalance cooperation and benefits among ecosystem partners, build lines of transparency, and establish trust. In fact, 90% of executives surveyed as part of our Technology Vision 2021 report stated that MPS will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with their organization’s partners. Creating an MPS relies on the right technology and a robust process for establishing a consortium, governing the networks that are built, and more. Leaders should focus on MPS adoption as a business case- and value-driven change – not just a technology-driven one.

By ensuring a trusted and secure common environment, multiparty systems create lines of sight into previously masked areas of the value chain. And this trust can immensely improve customer confidence and create an environment that catalyzes innovation for all participants.

3) Reconsider the meaning of value

Organizations are discovering financial opportunity in ecosystem-based business models, but in the process, they’re also driving societal change. Just as multiparty systems drive benefits for everyone throughout the ecosystem, it’s important that enterprises embarking on these undertakings do so with a wider perspective of what value means.

Take money as a case in point. Traditionally central banks have been relied on to regulate the supply of money through interest rates and minting. But now, central banks are looking to establish “Central Bank Digital Currencies” (CBDCs) that are better suited to the digital age. While there is no single solution yet, early efforts are already underway. The central bank in Sweden, for example, is already piloting the e-krona to test its viability. As organizations work on propositions that could have a huge impact on individuals and communities, they need to think through these impacts and ensure that they will deliver overwhelmingly positive outcomes.

Build an ecosystem and shape the future

The pandemic gave businesses a much-needed jolt to look again at how to partner with other organizations. The next step is to go further and think strategically about how you can work with others to build compelling new propositions. The best of these will quite literally change the world, and the companies behind them will become the titans of tomorrow.

Michael Biltz

About Michael Biltz

Michael Biltz, Managing Director of Accenture Technology Vision, leads the enterprise's annual technology visioning process. Through Accenture's Technology Vision, Michael defines Accenture's perspective on the future of technology beyond the current conversations about the IoT, social, cloud, mobility, and big data to focus on how technology will impact the way we work and live.

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