Modern networks are more complicated affairs than they may seem. They represent a strategy, an approach, and a vision of the future for each network participant. Networks vary in their models, aims of formation, and, logically, their structure. They have one thing in common though: networks are a deliberate evolution of the corporate world across industries from alluring islands of proprietary solutions to an overwhelmingly invisible cloud of highly detailed solutions, encompassing every conscious and unconscious action, decision, and preference of any given individual, whether those solutions are proprietary or acquired.

But let’s get down to particular examples and details to illustrate the formation of modern networks. The case study of a cooperation network, named House of the Future[1], carried out in the framework of a project with a significant participation of the University of Aveiro[2] in Portugal, described a visionary framework of networks based on combinations of the following hallmarks:

By duration:

  1. Project teams and virtual corporations – gathering for a short-term goal

  2. Strategic alliances, joint ventures, and business association – implying longer run collaboration

By actors involved:

  1. Vertical – connecting actors along a supply chain;

  2. Horizontal – connecting actors from similar functional areas or sectors

  3. Diagonal – connecting actors from complementary functional areas or sectors


  1. Local

  2. Regional or national

  3. International or global

If we were to build a three-dimensional map, zooming in on various combinations of hallmarks constituting every type of a network, there would be a handful of real-world embodiments across industries representing one or another combination. However, this time, I’d like to pay special attention to two types defining the future of financial services and the retail industry around the world.

International + Diagonal + Strategic Alliances

This particular combination is very interesting and somewhat symptomatic for 2018 because it’s sweeping startup niches out of the picture (like IBM does with RegTech). International alliances of businesses in complimentary functional areas create companies like Alphabet, IBM, Amazon, Tencent, Alibaba – the number of examples is limited and the vast majority would know exactly who they are.

The financial services industry has been affected the most with this particular network model because every player mentioned above has acquired a key to the financial world by figuring out all other industries while banks did not have the luxury of diversification beyond financial services. Today, deep diversification and outstanding success in such areas as contextual AI development, AML/KYC solutions, cloud technology, and other niches open the door to the financial world with a fair

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