Skip to main content

Sleeping with the Enemy: Aussie Business Pioneers Hungry to Collaborate with Competitors

'Advancing the industry' enough to tempt one in seven Aussie SMBs

July 8, 2015—Sydney, AustraliaBlue Jeans Network, the global leader in cloud-based video conferencing services, today reveals new research indicating that a small number of Aussie businesses are looking to collaborate with their competitors in order to advance the industry they work in, drive innovation and build the market.

While the majority (57%) of businesses see an advantage in collaborating with external partners to improve access to new markets and customers, 14% claim the biggest benefit would come from working with their competitors to drive industry progress.

The findings come at time when business video collaboration is becoming more prevalent and unlikely behemoth partnerships between conflict companies like Netflix and Amazon have put a spotlight on competitor collaboration at an enterprise level.

Regional business pioneers
You might expect city workers to be more at ease with collaboration in the workplace but the research reveals more regional businesses are taking risks to innovate and grow. Perhaps driven by the use of collaborative technology platforms, 39% of businesses outside of the mainland capital cities are likely to collaborate on a regular basis, compared to just 24% of businesses in capital cities.

Showing a thirst for disruption and growth in a more challenging environment, 50% of these regional businesses saw benefit in external collaboration to broaden their business offering compared to just 34% of those in mainland cities.

Commenting on the research, leading futurist and technologist Mark Pesce said: “Innovation and collaboration go hand in hand and it's encouraging to see some Australian businesses taking the need to innovate seriously. While it may seem counterintuitive for competitors to work together, at a smaller scale establishing the industry and customer base is priority and these businesses are smart to consider doing so.”

“Over the next few years as super-fast network speeds become ubiquitous and communication platforms like Blue Jeans evolve, collaboration, innovation and creativity will separate those who stand from those who fall, in an increasingly competitive and connected new business world.”

Mark Pesce believes there are multiple benefits to collaborating with competitors from both an SMB and enterprise level:

  • Expand core competencies and solidify strengths
  • Learn from each other
  • Expand the market for both
  • Benchmarking against a real peer
  • Share common technology

Missed opportunities
Broadening the business' offering was also a primary driver (42%) for Aussie SMBs to collaborate with another business, a powerful approach that can add value to the customer through complementary products and services.

Despite seeing the business benefits, only one in four small business owners (23%) collaborate with others outside of their business on a regular basis, while a third (34%) admit they rarely or never collaborate.

The perception that collaborating is logistically difficult and time consuming deterred 42% of business owners with a further 42% claiming it could be difficult to access the right partner.

Kelly Seelig, Sr. Director, Marketing Communications at Blue Jeans Network added: “Australia is geographically challenging from a national and global business perspective but collaboration shouldn't be reserved those with expensive travel budgets. Getting face-to-face access to customers, partners and even competitors is essential for driving businesses innovation forward and with the latest cloud based video collaboration tools, everyone can adopt a more innovative working culture.”

“The old world of business has shifted and mindsets have turned to more collaborative approaches at all levels of business. The rules we used to play by are changing; we're seeing growing competitor collaboration driving innovation and growth in other markets and it's inspiring to see SMBs taking the first bold steps here.”

Gen 'Y not collaborate'
The shift in business culture to more collaborative working methods has been driven in part by the arrival of a Gen Y workforce, which expects real-time collaboration and face-to-face video as basic working tools.

Weaned on a diet of instant messenger apps, cloud-based social platforms and iPad video calls, 43% of Gen Y entrepreneurs are attracted to external collaboration because it can accelerate the development of new products and services.

In terms of internal business collaboration, a third (33%) of Gen Y entrepreneurs see great value in being able to connect to experts and ensure they are constantly learning, much higher than the 21% average for baby boomers and Gen X SMB owners.

The research also revealed that small business owners recognise the benefit of working collaboratively with colleagues, peers or people within their business. In small businesses with three or more employees, the key benefits of internal collaboration are brainstorming to drive new thinking (59%) and working in a group environment to get different viewpoints (50%).

About Blue Jeans Network
At Blue Jeans Network, we aim to bring great minds together to meet, share ideas and reach audiences through the power of video collaboration. By making video communication easy, secure and scalable, our customers can make online conversations, meetings and events personal again. Blue Jeans' cloud-based platform has taken video into the mainstream, giving thought leaders in business, entertainment, media, and sports the power to interact face-to-face with anyone, anywhere. For more information go to: or follow the company @BlueJeansNet

The research was conducted by Galaxy Research on behalf of Blue Jeans Network with 400 small business owners in March 2015.

Media Contact:

Andrew Burton or Lauren O'Keefe
Fuel Communications
+61 2 8217 6500