I work in the R&D arm of a large engineering company. My team is highly skilled that supports the company's profit/loss units with services and R&D. We have occupy a certain niche in the company based on our skills. We are dependent on those profit/loss units funding us for our expertise and s/w technology development. Very recently a small business (SB) surpassed our capability on a particular s/w technology and now grabbed the attention of these business units. This could potentially shift their funding away from us and to the small business. This is a pity because funding us would keep capabilities within the company vs a contractor. Any ideas for next steps? Partnership with the SB? Work together somehow?
Teaming is a fact of life in the global economy around the world. No one goes it alone. That is the hard fact.
Teaming involving large and small enterprises is key to both party's success.

Synergism is paramount in teaming with any size company, whether in a lead or subcontracting role. There should be technical, management and market segment similarities between you and any company with whom you are considering teaming. Your prospective team member ideally will not be a direct competitor; rather a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.

Relationships must be developed with primes and other small businesses that can help you, team with you and keep you in mind as they search for success. That takes time, patience and open-minded, out of the box thinking. It also takes more than a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), a teaming agreement (TA) and a proposal to succeed. It takes dynamic marketing and communication with strong partners and hard, innovative work. Nice buzz words you say - but it is the truth and you have to find what that truth means to you.
Where would I begin to get some sort of collaboration started? They could basically do the entire work scope themselves. Been trying to find an angle that would be beneficial for both of us. I really appreciate any ideas from your experiences!


I'm a bit confused. Your "team" works for a larger corporation, correct? So what you would like is to get your team within the corporation to be more successful?

What is holding you back now? Lack of manpower? Talent as a team? Resources?

What exactly is that other group doing better than you? Are they just hungrier? Less complacent?
Yes, we work in a large corporation where we have some R&D money to support other parts of the company that are working government contracts. Unfortunately the R&D money is not a lot so we occupy the rest of our time lending our expertise to other parts of the company that is willing to fund us because we either do things faster or fill in a specialized gap that their own team does not have. That being said, we use what little R&D funds we have to produce some sort of value to certain parts of the company so they can fund us to continue the project for the rest of the year. We have been working with virtual reality but have limited resources (R&D funding, skillets, manpower) to get to the state we would like. We have been working closely with our customer (internal to company) with incremental achievements. Very recently, a SB came in and blew past all of us with their sleek application. Just looking for advice and next steps looking forward. I'll be happy to expand more if it doesn't make sense.


I'm mainly trying to find out if you want
  1. to join the "SB" (I'm not sure what that means); or
  2. to surpass the SB as your own separate company; or
  3. to increase your role (and perhaps budget) within your current company.


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Hello pandadreams ; firstly welcome to bizwarriors. Good to have you here ...

The situation you are in is the classic example of passenger sitting in the bus trying to steer visually. Unfortunately you are a passenger and not a driver. Going by what you have shared so far i think you cant have you own bus and want to share your path of success to some "Potential" ...

What you can do now is keep putting pressure with various statistics and other valid input to your present bus driver. Somewhere he / she will explore the path you have given. Never give up and keep hitting until your voice are heard.
If even with this if the driver is completely deaf and dum shift the bus.

But throwing this idea for some potential you will only dilute the value of the product / service visioned.

Hope i met your Question and Answered...

Best wishes..
Where would I begin to get some sort of collaboration started? They could basically do the entire work scope themselves. Been trying to find an angle that would be beneficial for both of us. I really appreciate any ideas from your experiences!
a business in a related field with whom you share a mutual need for each other's contributions in pursuing large-scale projects.


Pandadreams, you asked a general question, and I'm not sure if anyone is going to be able to really answer it to your satisfaction.
..blew past all of us with their sleek application..
If the small company did blow past you, then I can't help wonder if your team did any research to leverage existing solutions (complete or in part) as part of implementation efforts.

I come to accept the fact that the SB has a huge advantage over us because they have the right resources.
Great job on this important realization.

But where do I go from here?

Lets use Content Management System (CMS) as a point of reference.
You can't compete when someone walks-in with a shiny CMS, while you are still arguing the value of custom web pages and the need for marketers to leverage developers for content publication.
Instead you would embrace the CMS and learn everything about it to use it most effectively. For example, very few enterprises use the full functionality of commercial CMS because they lack the support structure.
This is a win-win strategy, in that you are not fighting the small business, rather helping them as well as the company to get the most value.

However, if the outside business provides full service, then there may not be any need for you or your team; or is there? This is not much different than McDonnalds opening up doors across the street from Burger King?
You will lose customers; and if the pain is high enough, you may have to let go of a few team member to keep the metaphorical doors open. However, customers would certainly want both options available to them.

With little info that you shared with us, it is my opinion that you need to re-orient your team for revenue generating projects. For example, the VR projects have a very narrow nitch, and I personally wouldn't invest much money on the VR R&D in hopes of turning it into a cash-cow, even in the gaming industry.

So, what can you do? You may not realize it; but, you have a competitive advantage.
No organization runs smoothly; so, your team can work on projects that removes functional pain points and reduces man-hour work; thereby, increasing productivity and revenue. This may not be as shiny as VR; but, it wont take long before your team is seen as a super star.
Again, you need to shift into money generating/saving strategy for the organization. Instead of development, what if your team researches and provides high-availability fail-over solution. Or perhaps, you can explore virtualization and cloud computing to reduce electric spending on keeping the server room cool. Or perhaps you can explore machine learning to cluster customer data to provide better insights to the marketing team so that they can be more strategic about their ad campaigns and sales force. What if your team implemented six-sigma, or cmmi for better governance, visibility, tractability, and savings. What if your team explored implementation of ISO standards or employ technology strategies which will make penetrating other markets a natural step. What if you looked at analyst reports (i.e. Gratner, Forester) and helped the company get positioned in magic quadrant; thereby, leading to higher revenue.

If you need formal quote from internal customers before you engage in a project, then things get little more challenging; but, remember that you still have a competitive advantage. As an internal employee you can use your network to contact division heads and see how you can help them. This may feel uncomfortable; but, now you are starting to walk like business owners who are working hard in finding their next paying customers.
This may not be what you signed-up for at your company; but, this is the type of answer you'll get from a business oriented forum.

Your team is very lucky to have a leader such as yourself who is going outside normal boundaries and comfort zone to help his team.

Best of luck to you and your team.
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