Collaborative Business Relationships

In today’s business environment, global competition requires a new set of challenges. Creating value means knowing how to act in competitive systems where multiple partners are interconnected and coordinated, ie, it is a strategic imperative to establish collaborative partnerships.

In light of the collaborative matrix, companies can:

Develop new markets, increase your sales and products, be more agile and more efficient operations, compete with more responsive, and above all, generate innovation.

Thus, the collaboration has impact on the bottom-line , operational efficiency and sustainability of the results. New challenges require a new level of collaborative maturity, which implies by companies traçarem their own course but deepening their interactions strong social ties with preferred partners.

This is our commitment: to support companies having as priorities the relational matrix and collaborative skills. The CBR methodology (Collaborative Business Relationships), is the only certified and proven effective and sustainable tool, recognizing that each relationship has its own unique considerations, and given to all sizes of companies.

ISO 44001 Background

The Journey to ISO 44001 started in 2004 where ICW started to consolidate its knowledge to establish a route map for collaborative working, which resulted in the launch of CRAFT a unique and integrated approach to building and sustaining more effective business relationships. This coincided with a research project ‘Future Connections’ highlighting the growth and demand for more complex business operating models moving towards 2020.

Against this backdrop ICW was pleased to engage with the British Standards Institution (BSI) with concept of developing a national standard, initially published as PAS 11000 (2006). ICW continued its association with BSI to create a certification scheme, piloted successfully in 2009, and then to chair the BSI committee to migrate to BS 11000 published in 2010 and in 2017 the ISO 44001.

The Benefits of working with ISO 44001

Collaborative business relationships have been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits, which enhance competitiveness and performance whilst adding value to organizations of all sizes. The publication of the ISO 44001 is a landmark for business as the first National Standard in the world.

Collaboration between organizations may take many forms from loose tactical approaches through to longer term alliances or joint ventures. ISO 44001 does not enforce a single rigid approach and recognizes that every relationship has its own unique considerations whilst harnessing a range of benefits. For those organizations with well established processes the framework provides a common language that can aid engagement whilst for those starting out on the framework creates a road map for the journey.

The Eight Stage Framework

The standards lifecycle model is structured in three phases (Strategic, Engagement and Management) with the objective of creating a robust platform to maximize the benefits of collaborative working by supporting the culture and necessary behaviour to optimize integration.



1. Operational Awareness

Effectively relating with external organizations can be challenging and can be constrained by internal barriers. It is crucial to ensure that efforts are focused on those relationships where collaboration will deliver real value.

2. Knowledge

Creating effective collaboration requires strategies that are focused on the business objectives and recognizes the risks associated with greater integration including knowledge management and business continuity, underpinned by an exit strategy to identify key concerns.

3. Internal Assessment

Understanding the strength and weaknesses of our own organizations is critical if collaboration is to be successful. This includes processes, skills and experience compatible with the desired outcomes.


4. Partner Selection

Finding the right partner is critical but frequently is based on assumptions or long standing traditional relationships that can simply migrate. It is important to understand the profile you are looking for and how you will evaluate their capability to collaborate.

5. Working Together

Establishing Joint governance for collaborative programs and integrating this with effective contracting arrangements requires careful attention taking into consideration the joint objectives and those of the individual partners, and ensuring the incentives and measurement will support collaborative behaviour.

6. Value Creation

The key to maintaining a strong relationship is to ensure that it remains current and drives innovation to bring additional value to the partners through joint continual improvement programs.


7. Staying Together

Joint management is crucial if relationships are to mature and support people and the business environment. Effective performance and behaviour should be monitored along with issues and disputes which will be inevitable but can strengthen relationships if handled effectively.

8. Exit Strategy Activation

Maintaining a joint exit strategy is important to keep the partners focused. At the same time having clear rules for disengagement will frequently improve engagement throughout the life of the relationship and into the future.