With the pandemic making it clear that companies cannot navigate through disruption and uncertainty alone, there is urgency for businesses to start creating new ways of partnering – with industry, with government, with communities and even competition.
The change must begin now, not in the distant future.
And technology – by way of multiparty systems (MPS) – is accelerating and making it possible for multi-party partnerships to happen in fully collaborative yet critically secure ways.
The rise of the multiparty system
MPS, with its ability to enable a shared data infrastructure between individuals and organisations, can help drive efficiency and build new business and revenue models. Blockchains, distributed ledgers and databases, tokenisation and a variety of other technologies and capabilities can be easily adopted with the use of multiparty systems, to ensure that multilateral partnerships can indeed be operational.
Take Singapore’s Digital Health Passport, for example. The Digital Health Passport lets individuals store medical documents in a secure digital wallet. At a time when monitoring the spread of the virus was crucial, the system allowed the government to easily track the levels of infection and eliminated the need for paper records—all while maintaining individuals’ privacy.
The system also gave public and private healthcare providers as well as individuals access to verifiable test results and hospital discharge papers for work clearance. In other words, it put a clean and trusted bill of health right at everyone’s fingertips—and was used more than 1.5 million times in its first four months alone.
Necessitated and accelerated by the pandemic, we’ve seen businesses across industries double down on their exploration and investments in MPS. Technologies that were once considered too complicated and far from maturity, like contact tracing and frictionless payments, suddenly took centre stage.
As we look to an endemic pandemic and an uneven road to recovery, it is imperative to build partnerships that are founded upon resilience, adaptability and trustworthiness. These coordinated, strategic ecosystems will ultimately help enable companies to address disruption, create and innovate, and discover new ways of interactions and approaches with different markets.
Eventually, MPS will blur industry boundaries to solve new problems, like the emerging collaboration between healthcare and travel, or even begin to define new industries entirely.
Taking leadership in the multiparty system drive
Businesses have an edge over others when they manage to successfully transact and share data by seamlessly and safely shifting between partners. Not only in driving business growth, businesses who utilise technology and sustain them through new approaches to partnerships can also influence change at an industry-wide level. Savvy businesses that look beyond mere survival and spot the opportunity to emerge as established leaders will be the ones to thrive in the years ahead.
According to Accenture’s 2021 Technology Vision report, there are three key considerations for businesses that are looking to build ecosystem-wide collaborations.
- Forging new partnerships with cloud
Cloud rotations have always been the gateway to deep collaboration, and now that every company has accelerated their cloud transformation because of the pandemic, there is an abundance of potential partners. A network effect is created as cloud adoption becomes increasingly apparent.
A growing cloud capability will enable new forms of services, business models and value generations to be created, and help forge new partnerships and challenge existing industry boundaries. For example, with industry-focused clouds, customised environments for industries with specific requirements and challenges can be created. This is more than setting a new industry standard, it is providing a way for ecosystems to flourish and innovate.
For example, PingAn, one of the largest insurers in the world, built five groups of cloud platforms for automotive, personal finance, health, property and smart cities. Each platform is used to incubate innovative apps or services for customers, and act as a funnel into the broader PingAn business. The ecosystem model allows the company to cross-sell and integrate services between the five areas.
Today they have more than five hundred million people using their digital products, with a third of their new customers coming from ecosystem engagements. And the technology has extended the company’s ecosystem to include 618 banks, 84 insurance companies, and 3000 other financial institutions.
- Extend and transform partnerships
Focusing on MPS adoption is more than a technology-driven case, it is a business case that can lead to value-driven change. If the cloud is the admission to digital ecosystems, extending and building an MPS is taking technology investments and supporting the process of establishing a consortium to govern these built networks.
Executives see the benefits of MPS in enabling a more resilient and adaptable foundation for their ecosystems to thrive. 90% of executives surveyed as part of our Technology Vision 2021 report agreed that MPS will help create new value with their organisation’s partners.
Additionally, MPS can help rebalance cooperation and benefits among ecosystems partners, building lines of transparency in ways that other systems are incapable of. This creates lines of sight into otherwise masked areas of the value chain and helps establish greater trust for participants. We see the tangible benefits of this through improved customer confidence, and the creation of environments that will act as a catalyse of innovation for all participants.
- Reinvent a new perspective on value
Partnerships are taking centre stage in our post-pandemic world, and it is important to understand that businesses are not just driving business growth, they are also driving societal change. As businesses begin to uncover the financial opportunities resting within ecosystem-based business models, it is equally important to embark on these undertakings with a wider perspective of what value means.
To evaluate how partnerships are shaping the world, one area that MPS has had an extraordinary impact is in the arena of money. Traditionally, the world has always relied on central banks for monetary policies and the regulation of money supply through interest rates and mining.
Now, central banks are establishing Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), better-equipped systems for the modern, digital age. While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is working with different countries to establish a standard set of CBDCs, efforts are already underway as central banks across the globe begin to explore their own digital programmes. Take Sweden’s pilot programme of the e-krona to test its viability, and the Digital Dollar Project’s plans to advance a collaborative framework for developing CBDC in the US as examples of the worldwide efforts of CBDCs.
CBDCs are examples of why businesses need to have MPS at the forefront of their innovation agenda. People will remain at the centre of these ecosystems, and the technologies that are poised to be at the centre of these ecosystems need to support them, not overshadow them.
As businesses work on these propositions that have huge effects on both individuals and communities, they will need to think through the impact in order to deliver overwhelmingly positive outcomes.
Build the ecosystem, shape the future
COVID-19 forced businesses to rethink their approaches to partnership. Navigating through the chaos means thinking strategically about the best ways to work with others to create compelling new propositions.
These are the ideas that can change the world and shape the future, and the businesses that do will set themselves apart as the leaders of tomorrow.
Ryoji Sekido is Senior Managing Director, Accenture Technology Lead for Japan, China, Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East and Executive Vice President, Accenture Japan