Crucial Collaboration

Gartner report forecasts collaborative product commerce to increase in importance

Stamford, CT  March 20, 2001  Major discrete manufacturing industries have embraced collaborative product commerce (CPC) as the lynchpin of their emerging product-definition and product-development strategies, and this trend will continue to grow in the coming years, according to Gartner, Inc. In Gartner's new Strategic Analysis Report "Collaborative Product Commerce: Exploiting E-Business Opportunities for Product Realization," Gartner analysts said that by 2003, manufacturing enterprises not adopting a CPC-driven recombinant business model will be at a severe disadvantage.

"Enterprises must embrace CPC to gain the benefit of timely information that empowers them to make dramatic improvements in product-centric aspects of business performance," said Marc Halpern, research director for Gartner. "Today, CPC is having its greatest impact on product definition activities within discrete manufacturing industries. However, a major opportunity exists to expand CPC concepts beyond discrete manufacturing to serve batch and process industries. As CPC evolves, its benefits will extend beyond product definition to the entire product lifecycle  encompassing supply chain management, marketing, production, sales and distribution."

CPC emerged from Internet-driven collaborative commerce (c-commerce), an even broader trend that applies many of the emerging IT technologies and business strategies necessary to achieve the next wave of business competitiveness. CPC defines the application of c-commerce principles for redefining product definition business processes within an enterprise, across enterprises and with customers. It involves elevating the asset of product intellectual capital beyond the engineering silo and exploiting new potential business opportunities available across the cyber-market.

To thrive during this transformation of business practice, manufacturers must adopt a new set of competitive imperatives. They include: increased product development; product development execution that reflects more agility and flexibility to change product definitions in addition to the raw speed of delivering a product to market; and enlarging the notion of collaboration beyond integrated supply chains and into the realm of the cyber-chain.

"These imperatives, embodied in CPC, elevate the asset of product intellectual capital beyond the engineering silo," said Bruce Bond, group vice president and research group director for Gartner. "CPC defines the opportunity to transform the activities surrounding product definition from slow iterative communication of narrow product data to instantaneous communication of rich product information content.

Gartner analysts said there are four parts to the CPC model that must be considered when architecting an implementation strategy. They include: harnessing and leveraging product information assets into a Web data store; creating seamless interoperability for product application assets that leverage product intellectual capital; providing ubiquitous, role-based Web access; and exploiting inbound and outbound commerce opportunities.

"The overarching market force driving the move toward CPC is the evolution from make-to-stock and assemble-to-order styles of manufacturing to mass customization and personalization," Halpern said.