An enterprise integrator approach: Delivering operational advantage at pace
We often hear that in today’s fast-shifting threat landscape, with the relentless pace of technological disruption, defence solutions and acquisitions need to be ready rapidly and evolve quickly. However, current capability development and commercial models can impede the flexibility and fresh thinking needed to deliver at the pace of relevance.
The challenge for us all in the defence and security community – Armed Forces, policymakers, industry, and advisers – is how to respond effectively. Building on calls from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for greater collaboration and faster response, we believe a new end-to-end ‘enterprise integrator’ approach could provide an answer.
The MoD wants integration and collaboration
There is growing recognition within both the Armed Forces and the MoD of the need to embrace innovation and foster collaboration right across the ecosystem. Clear signs of the change stretch from the transformation of Strategic Command into defence’s integrator, through to plans to “nurture a genuinely collaborative ecosystem” for science and technology exploitation within the recent Defence Command Paper Refresh.
Shared purpose and outcomes
These desires call for industry to respond in kind. So, imagine an ecosystem where we’re all working together – a single organism – with ideas and resources flowing to the area of greatest need and with integration as the norm. With this joined-up approach, we could bring together the right team for the right problem. We could also take advantage of the power of the full supplier ecosystem to help meet demands more quickly and efficiently – all while maximising value for money and being more agile when it comes to adapting to evolving requirements.
We’ve just launched our Enterprise Integrator approach to help mobilise industry around this collaborative and transformative approach and make sure we’re playing our full part in creating shared purpose and outcomes.
Enterprise Integrator is built around four interconnected pillars:
- Building a shared purpose across the enterprise: through a one-team approach, where all parties, including the MOD, have access to the problem to be solved from the outset and are working to achieve the same outcomes.
- Founding collaborative behaviours across the enterprise: a culture change programme and operating framework embeds these behaviours and reinforces the shared purpose.
- Enabling delivery at pace: by setting up flexible delivery methods and shifting thinking from ‘what’ requirements to ‘how’ solutions, to diversify thinking uplift the ability to rapidly respond to change.
- Increasing commercial choice: by using innovative commercial approaches to open-up opportunities to a broader base of suppliers. Also making sure contractual frameworks drive the right behaviours within the one-team; for example, shared ownership of risk and opportunity. This means we can drive delivery of the right capability at the right time.
Path to progress
While similar calls have previously failed to materialise in practice, there are signs that now is a moment of opportunity. We’re seeing partnerships springing up across the defence enterprise, many of which we’re closely involved in. Alongside established partners, these collaborations are actively fostering supplier networks among the SME community.
To make this disruptive and innovative approach a reality and capitalise on the potential, three priorities stand out:
1. Joining forces
Reinforce the collaborative mindset championed by the MoD by aligning goals and sharing resources. In practice, this means joint R&D and common investment and initiatives to attract and develop talent.
2. Moving to a systems approach, not a platforms approach
Focusing more on ‘how’ than the ‘what’ when it comes to procurement. The main aim should be to make it easier for new entrants and SMEs to participate. In turn, larger partners would need to provide the resources and production capabilities to make sure the innovations are ‘mission competent’ and ready for use as quickly as possible.
3. Create the right capability framework
From the MoD perspective, as acquisition starts to focus on capability outcomes, it’s important to create a more robust capability framework to guide development. This will also allow us to understand both how our capabilities integrate with partners and allies and operate interchangeably with those allies.
Collaborating to deliver where and when it counts
An Enterprise Integrator approach can enable users to thrive by creating collaborative enterprises that will help organisations deliver world-leading capabilities at a faster pace. This new commercial, behavioural, and delivery approach can improve responsiveness to evolving threats – creating better outcomes to help us build a safe, secure, and sustainable future.