It was only a few years ago that all the talk was of fintechs attacking the incumbents. Whilst there are examples of disruptive business models (Transferwise, Uber, Airbnb etc), the confrontational rhetoric seems to be being replaced by one of collaboration.
Here at CloudTrade, we’re proud of the unique technology we’ve built but we know that sometimes our solution only answers half the question. That’s why collaboration is crucial to our business. It’s also vital to the success of the wider tech industry, especially in London, a city where traditional businesses and agile startups collide, compromise and, crucially, collaborate.
Should incumbents in sectors like banking, payments and e-commerce develop tech in-house to protect market share? Or, should they collaborate with smaller companies who bring something new, usually by focusing on a vertical or by doubling down on their expertise around a specific technology?
For a company that’s dominated a sector for years, perhaps even decades, collaboration can feel like the harder choice. A slow-moving giant has budget and leverage, in terms of brand value, customer base and resources. But they also have a lot to lose. Smaller businesses can look like a risk, so it’s easier for them to take a safe route to progress, and build from within.
Over the last few years, startups and scaleups have matured into developed companies who offer solutions to customers through highly targeted products. Incumbents are learning that the quickest way to access new technology and push solutions to different audiences is through partnerships. This is the approach we favour at CloudTrade. Our partners believe in it too.
A good example is SAP Ariba. Their partner extension programme recognises how a high proportion of SAP Ariba’s growth in the next decade will come from their partners. The recent launch of our Invoice Capability for SAP Ariba PDF app is a testament to this – with over seven hundred of their buyers and suppliers already signing up for the service. The demand is a validation that there was significant demand for line-level 100% data capture.
LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, said: "No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you play a solo game, you'll always lose to a team." This is true, both inside a company and across an industry, and we buy into this sentiment at CloudTrade.
By partnering strategically and for the long term, we leverage our partners’ networks, infrastructures and expertise, whilst our partners’ can access our capabilities too. Together, through collaboration, we win.