Thales Blog

Accelerating manufacturers’ time-to-market through open innovation

November 24, 2023

Ward Duchamps Ward Duchamps | Director of Strategy and Innovation CIAM, Thales More About This Author >

The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a significant digital transformation, where organizations are leveraging all different types of technologies to stay competitive and meet customer demands. To thrive in this market, manufacturers must invest in open innovation, and have the right tools in place to support this strategy. But first let’s see…

…What is open innovation?

Open innovation is a strategic approach that allows an organization to collaborate with external sources to drive innovation, instead of relying primarily on internal resources and expertise. Some of these external parties can include customer feedback, published patents, external agencies and research institutions.

Traditionally, manufacturers have been self-reliant in the way they develop new products, but as the industry gets more competitive, it's critical for companies to find ways to stay ahead. According to a study conducted by IBM, 84% of executives say open innovation is important for the growth of their business.

How does investing in open innovation lead to a faster time to market?

By leveraging collaborative partnerships and external expertise, manufacturers can streamline product development, reduce costs, and ultimately expedite time to market.

Cultivate business partner collaboration

Open innovation encourages parallel development efforts, meaning different partners and collaborators can focus on various component development simultaneously. This harbors a flexible and agile approach to product development, leading to quicker decision-making and accelerated operation processes.

Leverage supplier and vendor expertise

Oftentimes, manufacturers outsource product development to suppliers, vendors and partners because these entities have specialized equipment and technologies that make them experts in that field and speed up development. By splitting up the work and sharing resources based on their specialties, manufacturers can expedite development, cut costs, and allocate their resources better.

Establish a feedback loop with external experts

Collaborate directly with customers to make sure your products are meeting their demands. Get feedback and insights from external experts, such as suppliers, vendors and research institutions, to gain a fresh perspective and a better understanding of the industry itself. These feedback loops enable faster validation of product designs as well, leading to faster prototyping and testing.

Gain access to new markets

Partnering with external collaborators helps organizations expand their reach and increase their visibility into new markets. Manufacturers can also tap into previously untapped customer segments and leverage those partners’ business ecosystems, giving these innovation-driven organizations a competitive edge.

Balancing collaboration and security: The role of Identity & Access Management (IAM) in open innovation

While open innovation offers an array of benefits, it also introduces unique challenges, especially when it comes to security, access control and data protection. This is why manufacturers need a strong Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution in place to address these challenges and ensure that open innovation can thrive within a secure and controlled environment.

Scale your business ecosystem securely

As your organization increases collaboration with more partners, suppliers and vendors, it’s critical to make sure you have the right tools in place to securely support these interactions. That’s why investing in an IAM platform that is API-first is important: they allow users to access your business’s most valuable data so companies can efficiently reuse, share, and collaborate with other end users.

Choosing an API-first platform like the Thales OneWelcome Identity Platform makes it easy to scale businesses, too. APIs act as the building blocks for new apps, allowing these apps and programs to talk to each other. So, when a manufacturer needs to expand, or they’re in the middle of a merger or acquisition, onboarding and integrating new users is seamless.

Protect your intellectual property

Did you know that the manufacturing industry is one of the most targeted sectors of cyber criminals worldwide? In fact, Statista reports that the global average cost of a data breach in this sector is around 4.5 million USD.

Safeguard your company’s intellectual property and prevent unauthorized access and potential theft. Enforce data access policies so that you are sharing information and data with a select group of collaborators. Implement extra security measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA) to make sure only the right people are gaining the right access to designs, processes and technologies.

Ensure you’re always compliant

Make sure your company is compliant with the latest regulations and data security standards. As manufacturers continue to globalize, navigating the regulatory landscape can get complex. By partnering with an IAM provider that’s just as global as your company like Thales, ensure your organization is always compliant, all the time.

Simplify access policy management across your organization

The right authorization method offers a streamlined approach to defining and enforcing access policies, dynamically granting or restricting user permission within application and systems in real-time. With the Thales OneWelcome Identity Platform, you can seamlessly integrate externalized authorization while ensuring compliance with a wide range of intricate standards and protocols like SAML, OpenID, OAuth, and more. This allows your team to efficiently manage access control and security, elevating your company’s operational standards.

Reduce administrative burden

Make it easier for your external collaborators to access your company’s resources by using their own authentication systems with identity federation. This allows users to access services, applications and resources without needing to create separate accounts and instead using familiar authentication methods like Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Not only does this free admin from having to manage multiple external accounts, it also makes processes feel more user-friendly.

Ready to harness the power of IAM to support your company's collaboration initiatives? Learn how Thales helps manufacturers accelerate their time to market in this increasingly competitive landscape.