Successful collaborations with tech companies

12 February, 2019

Why collaborate?

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Collaboration between businesses is by no means a new phenomenon, but rapid developments in the technology field over the past decade means collaborations are becoming less a choice and more a necessity as businesses are required to make effective use of technology to remain one step ahead of the competition and the NHS, local authorities and Government bodies are under pressure to drive efficiencies and reduce costs.

In the health field, the NHS’s partnership with social app Tinder and the strategic partnership agreement between NHS Digital and techUK being primary examples.  In the charities and not-for-profit sectors, such partnerships can increase the tech companies’ environmental/CSR credentials. There is also real potential for disrupting established sectors like retail, insurance, banking or automotive by leveraging new tech solutions through collaborations.

 

In successful collaborations, both parties can benefit by growing their ecosytems – allowing partners to access each other’s expertise and resources, broaden their relevance, increase market reach and achieve efficiencies to provide customers, clients and patients with better products and services.  Smaller tech companies and start-ups can bring flexibility and innovation to complement a bigger partner’s resources and infrastructure. 

How to successfully collaborate

There are a variety of ways and business structures that can be used to establish successful working relations between businesses, including bespoke joint venture and partnership arrangements that enable multiple parties to work together on either long-term or shorter, project-based collaborations.

It is essential to success however that the parties have properly thought out all aspects of the venture before getting started.  Proper research on your prospective “other half” is key, as is a frank discussion about what each party wants to get from the venture: how will success be measured, how will it be funded, staffed, owned (IP is a particular issue with tech collaborations) and how will it come to an end?  Getting it wrong can lead to problems for both sides – loss of revenues, wasting time, reputation damage, staff defections, IP ownership issues… Differences in culture and ethos need to be understood from the outset in order to reduce friction during the project. 

A particular concern with a tech collaboration arises from the rapid pace of change in technological developments – the structure and terms of your arrangement need to be very flexible in order to deal with this.

Whichever framework is chosen it is essential that the relevant legal and commercial issues are carefully documented.

For more information on joint ventures, partnerships or other business collaborations, please contact Eoin Broderick on eoin.broderick@crippspg.co.uk or on 01892 765 410 for details.