Ecosystems are networks where different digital partners create, redeem, and share value. In practice, network members share knowledge, skills, services, and resources to achieve shared benefits.
Shared benefits can include solutions that operators could not provide to their customers on their own. Those benefits can be access to richer data and broader knowledge, contact with new potential customers, and synergies that lead to industry-wide innovations. As a whole, the ecosystem becomes more valuable than the sum of its parts, making it increasingly profitable for new players to join.
Your own ecosystem
Sometimes companies realize the existing ecosystem does not serve their objectives. In these cases, it might make sense to start developing your own ecosystem. We begin by assessing the company’s existing digital partners and try to answer these questions:
- Has the company been able to choose its partners deliberately and purposefully, or is it perhaps unwittingly part of an ecosystem?
- Are there shared objectives between the company and its partners?
- Are the partners involved in a digital partnership, and what capabilities does each bring to the table?
- How will the company’s actions affect other members?
- How sensitive are the actions of others to the company?
- What role would the company like to play in the ecosystem? For example, would it aim to maintain its own digital platform solution?
At this stage, a critical assessment of all options’ potential negative impacts and risks is vital. In addition, comprehensive revenue models and value chain modeling can be used to anticipate possible changes and assess their effects on each actor and the value creation capacity of the ecosystem.
The digital capabilities of the partners and the interoperability of technologies and systems are also crucial when aiming to maximize value creation and seamless information sharing in the ecosystem. This is why we carefully assess the ecosystem’s maturity and technologies and how well they work together.
Creating value in a digital environment requires a long list of different capabilities from network participants:
- The ability to adapt quickly to unexpected changes
- Ability to respond to sudden and unforeseen changes in complexity
- Agile integrations and API management
- Scalability of technologies
- Systematic collection and use of data for business development
- Openness to new technologies
- Compatibility of strategies, objectives, approaches, and cultures, and a bias toward ecosystem-driven activities
In addition to these capabilities, the seamless ecosystem functioning requires integrating the partners’ critical systems through interfaces and strong security skills. At the same time, it is essential to consider who is ultimately responsible for the whole.