BSI’s Business Barometer: Competition and Complex Customer Requirements to Boost Partnerships


07 December 2010

More complex customer requirements and higher levels of competition are the key factors that will increase the need for collaborative business relationships, while cultural differences seem to represent the main challenge for companies working in partnership with other organizations.

These are the key highlights of the BSI’s Business Barometer presented today to coincide with the official launch of the certification programme for the British Standard on Collaborative Business Relationships (BS 11000-1), at the House of Lords. BS 11000, developed by BSI with Partnership Sourcing Ltd (PSL) along with Government and industry professionals, helps organizations establish, manage and improve collaborative working within and across the public and private sectors.

The BSI’s Business Barometer, that surveyed senior decision makers from different industries, ascertained the most formidable challenges perceived by companies for ongoing collaboration, the benefits and the key factors that are set to increase the need for partnerships.

Challenges. The greatest difficulties identified included cultural differences (56%), and allocating risk and reward (44%). Respondents also added that managing expectations on all sides and aligning multiple multinational companies as a single flexible organization could challenge the potential efficiency of business collaboration.

Furthermore, in response to the complexity of their current business relationships, referring to extensive business networks, global relationships and several internal divisions, 34% of respondents stated that their business relationships were very complex, while a larger number, 56%, felt that their business relationships were more straightforward.

Trends. The need for collaboration will certainly increase due to complex customer requirements followed by higher levels of competition and increasing globalisation of market opportunities. Additionally, participants found that financial constraints and the need to work together to compete with low cost economies were persuasive factors underlining the need for collaborative business relationships.

Benefits. Respondents identified the benefits of working collaboratively with customers and suppliers: 73% of survey participants found that reduced overall operating costs, simplified processes and optimised resources were the most attractive benefits of collaborative business relationships, while they also think that increased growth or market access were valuable assets of business collaboration.

Finally, 58% of respondents replied that they had a structured framework underpinning their collaborative work with customers and suppliers while 29% did not at present have collaborative infrastructure in place.

A number of businesses have already recognized that certifying the Collaborative Business Relationships is a key differentiator in the market place. These organizations have shown a real commitment to partnering and can confidently demonstrate excellence. Many more businesses are now looking to follow their lead and over 100 delegates including industry managers, visionaries and thought leaders are expected today at the networking event at the House of Lords for the launch of the new BS 11000 certification programme.

“Building on PAS 11000, most popular with large organizations engaged on large-scale contracts in specific sectors, BS 11000 is more accessible to other sectors and will be of equal value to smaller companies,” says BSI EMEA Business Development Director Andrew Morris. “BS 11000 will also gain traction beyond the UK in areas where a British Standard has strong credibility. In many tender situations we are now seeing businesses pitching together rather than individually and then going on to deliver a service jointly. A certificate proving compliance with BS 11000 can really help to set them apart from the competition.”

About PSL

PSL was established in 1990 as a joint initiative between the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (formerly DTI) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). PSL is a self-financing not-for-profit organization. Its role is to help organizations, large and small, in both the public and private sectors, to build and develop effective competitive business relationships based upon a collaborative approach. PSL provides practical guidance based on a wide portfolio of experience utilizing knowledge from extensive relationships within the commercial, Government and academic arenas.