In order for businesses to gain added value from partnerships, they need to be structured and adapted to collaborate. Which facilitate quick and efficient implementation of decision-making processes, project change, knowledge transfer et cetera. Congruent structures are the second general mechanism identified in the study of data and information exchange within a partnership between train operators and the Swedish Transport Administration. The first mechanism highlights interoperability for digital resources and infrastructure.
Dozens of people were interviewed who had strategic roles and were responsible for IT infrastructure and integration or worked with strategic traffic planning. The study included Swedish train operators for passenger, freight, public transportation and system suppliers who are business partners with the Swedish Transport Administration. Three overall value creating mechanisms were identified – interoperability for digital resource, synergetic capabilities and congruent structures.
Structure for transparent information exchange
Several subcategories for congruent structures were identified. One of them are structures for systematic information management in order to effectively coordinate cooperation and deliver relevant information to the right actor at the right time. Today, there are insufficient structures for information exchange that creates problems with information overload when handling situational awareness in traffic deviations for example. This because most of the information that are shared takes place through e-mail, chat and telephone to the involved parties, whether relevant or not. Another problem with use of e-mail, chat and telephone are that the information shared is difficult to structure, manage and store in a structured way. This makes it more difficult to recreate and make it hard to learn from past event.
Another sub-category illustrates the importance of symmetrical and transparent information sharing. This to prevent use of informal information channels and agreed routines. Which can lead to that people or organisations not receive vital information because of human error due to relaying on informal contact networks. This can leads to asymmetric information sharing and affect trust between partners as it is perceived unprofessional and favouring.
To address the problem with information exchange, tailored structures are needed to manage interaction between different types of collaborations. Several of the organisations in the study had created specific structures, processes and routines for data exchange to function effectively. For example, by creating web portals and APIs to facilitate communication with third-party service developers. For the purpose to systematise and streamline the interaction, and enable more actors to contribute to service development within the transport system by providing open data.
Congruent structures indicate the need for matching structures depending on partner to create added value for both parties. These can be temporary structures in the form of hackathons to span new ideas and network with new actors. Or, within existing partnerships, design structures that over time contribute to mutual value creation when partners link processes and routines together.
More about digital value creating mechanisms can be found on the results page.