Building a business ecosystem: 4 key elements


The digital age has given rise to an interconnectivity never before possible, in turn fulfilling an innate and age-old human desire: quick and easy access to everything we need. Companies hoping to keep up with these customer expectations are now building a business ecosystem to help sustain themselves and grow. And these ecosystems are breathing new life into how companies provide services.

Of course, like all things, there are challenges and benefits of ecosystems. Let’s discover how working together with partners and competitors creates added value for everyone.

What is a business ecosystem?

A successful business ecosystem is a flow of:

  1. Ideas
  2. Talent
  3. Capital

This fluidity is absolutely essential considering future predictions for ecosystems.

According to senior partners at McKinsey, what we now experience to be 100 distinct value chains involved in the distribution of services could potentially “collapse into 12 large ecosystems”.

Rather than having mere industries, there would be industry groups. And the leaders at the helm – the orchestrators – stand to gain the most. Exactly who are the orchestrators? They’re the ones with the data. So as always, data in the digital age is king.

The truth is that no company can meet the requirements of a demanding customer base all alone. Industries, business segments, and companies have to combine their know-how, expertise, and information to be able to offer a comprehensive all-round product or solution.

This means that solutions come before competition because competitors, suppliers, partners, and even end-consumers contribute to the ecosystem.

In fact, even the autonomous vehicle industry has to set aside autonomy in the creation and development process. They rely on a complex ecosystem that’s uniting digital technology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and brains from all over the globe to produce a singular product capable of meeting myriad needs and desires.

According to Deloitte, “The world is entering an era in which ideas and insights come from everywhere, and crowds, clouds, collaborators, competitions, and co-creators can fundamentally help define our shared future. The business environment is being permanently altered as a result.”

Break on through to the other side: Overcoming the roadblocks to success

When shifting an entire business model, there are bound to be significant challenges. This is especially the case for companies serving clients. They must “reinvent” at breakneck speed to keep up with the constant production and flow of data to create a balanced and effective ecosystem.

So, how can you overcome the biggest challenges when it comes to building a business ecosystem?

1. Think different: Successful companies have been trained to look internally to solve problems and address customer needs. One of the biggest challenges will be rethinking how to respond to customer demands and improve services by looking within the ecosystem.

An ecosystem offers a unique opportunity to access a solution – most likely from a company specialized in this area – without investing the time and financial resources into developing it. It’s interdependence at its most effective!

2. Technology-based ecosystems: Ecosystems demand a certain amount of give and take, especially in the case of shared data. Managing and analyzing the uploaded and stored data that’s collected across different devices is essential for reliable and effective field service management.

Understanding the data also greatly facilitates the provision of a core service: crowd service, a network of qualified experts consisting of employees, partners, subcontractors and freelancers. Without a solution for consolidating machine data, customer data, crowd data, and more, it would be more time-consuming and cumbersome to provide fast response times.

3. Connect with end-customers: A valuable ecosystem designed to maximize customer autonomy is a self-service portal. By sharing valuable knowledge and tools with customers, such a system can help customers help themselves.

With the aid of messaging services, customers can solve basic and even more complex problems. Self-service portals can also provide customers an option to schedule appointments, order replacement parts, and scan product history details. Sharing information with customers makes them an integral part of their business’ success, and your business’ as well.

4. NON-autonomous mindset: The ecosystem is “about reinventing the business model and reinventing how the customer value proposition is being created”. And that means the focus needs to be on creating partnerships, not simply acquiring businesses to become a bigger, stronger player in your industry.

Remember, the days of industry are coming to an end. Building a business ecosystem and becoming a key player in an industry group will be critical to holistic business success.

Learn what effects the current health crisis might have on business strategy, digital transformation, and the future of e-commerce HERE.

Manuel Grenacher
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Manuel Grenacher

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