Our experiences determine to a large degree, success or failure. When you are reliant on others to collaborate and exchange knowledge, for the better good, you need to make sure there is a consistent validation process.
Building the multi-sided solutions where an ecosystem of providers is collectively working towards finding solutions that radically advance on existing ones, you have to enter these type of relationships with your eyes wide open, they are extremely hard and demanding.
They are complex in their relationships, collaborating and exchanging knowledge and expertise to get to a given ‘transformation’ point. You have to become adaptive.
They are differences in the different types of business platforms and who engages with whom and where they enter the value building chain. In my last post “Seeing differences between B2C and B2B within Ecosystems and Platforms” I covered the major differences between them.
Here in this post, I explore the considerable differences between ones that are one-to-many in the relationship that most of our digital platform solutions have been evolving into (B2B, B2C) and many-to-many. The complexity rises to a very different level.
Many-to-many (M2) ecosystems are far harder to manage.
The difficulties come in the work undertaken to extract value from the multiple solution providers all contributing, to bring together a collective solution and then serve multiple customers is challenging to manage. The expectations and experiences take on significantly more complexity when you attempt these. These complex adaptive challenges are setting about to transform industries, institutions or societal through digital ecosystem management. The ability to transform customer experience lies in the radical solutions eventually offered. They have to be compelling and this ‘need’ creates significant pressure for all involved.
So what do I determine by a many-to-many ecosystem?
Clearly attempting Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is the need to bring together broad sets of people, multiple processes and different technology that can work on mobile devices that use wireless networks, and other mobile computing services in a business context would be an example. Equally, it can be applied to self-driving cars, autonomous vehicles where the complexity comes in connecting all the separate parts these require.
Then you have complexity in changing the healthcare industry that needs multiple collaborators, changing how we connect and live within cities, our education needs, how we manage our combined energy, how we organize a more connected transport system all require multiple contributions. M2M are tangled and difficult to change easily. They need the many to contribute and combine, in seeing and working towards a new future. The ultimate design is complex but it must be simple in its end user experience.
The other part of M2M is that it has both a human and a digital dimension. It is multiple networks and systems and technology solutions required to come together, so as to deliver the final outcome on our local devices and smartphones. To achieve these many-to-many connections, the need becomes one for strong governance and clear protocols so the ‘dual’ common language (digital and human) enables the solutions to seamlessly work. It is the ability to coordinate, resolve and manage this complexity makes M2M demanding work, let alone finding ‘winning’ solutions!
Many-to-many collaborations are incredibly complex and different. Here is why:
For innovators, understanding the innovation opportunities in many-to-many ecosystems is paramount. While they are more complex, more difficult to create and enter, they have to constantly seek more value, need to be longer lasting to change existing habits and will ultimately have the goal of offering more return for those involved or for the customer, greater benefit, otherwise why switch?
As innovators identify and build these solutions, the key outcome must be delivering a significantly improved customer experience. If those involved fail to understand the existing customer journey how can they design a new set of solutions?
Solutions need to come after the understanding, often we find this the other way around, a technology looks to be adapted to a solution without that real clarity of true customer need.
Multi-sided ecosystems are far more complex that determine experience
There is a host of differences that need to be required in the many-to-many collaborations we are seeing emerging today. These are ones determined to change industry dynamics and disrupt or radically alter the existing market landscape.
It is the design of experiences for all involved, as any sub-par performance in the pursuit of a radical change from the start of something different to the final delivery is fraught with dangers of a poor experience, leading to a very expensive initiative that goes badly wrong, not delivering the solution that radically alters the market landscape.
Truly a complex challenge lies in multi-sided M2M solutions and being incredibly open gives the best exchanges
In B2C we have these walled gardens to ‘hold’ the attention of the consumer, to make the exchange sticky. In B2B we need to be constantly open. Open in defining what we are collectively wanting to achieve, to resolve what problem and derive what ‘greater’ value than going it alone. We need to scope out the potential but we also need to set out some boundaries, not walls so we can question if we go over them or not and what are the consequences, cost, and opportunities in doing this for ‘adding’ more value into the final solution.
We will constantly ‘bump’ up against adjacent ecosystems or recognize these need to be incorporated into our solution. We need to listen constantly outside out own world of understanding, to allow the new ‘signal’ of change potential to permutate into our thinking to then be translated into a possible solution that solves that ‘signal’
No multi-sided M2M’s become immensely complicated to manage. As you enter one wanting to participate you quickly realize they are hard and difficult, it is a complex system problem to unravel, manage and determine where the value potential lies.
Stakes get really high in many-to-many complex ecosystems
The one that needs restating from our last post “Seeing differences between B2C and B2B within Ecosystems and Platforms” is “that the stakes are usually higher in B2B deals” but in our opinion, it must always be the value in the return needs to be far greater in this collaborative environment, a new higher ecosystem than just pursuing the ‘power’ of one that can only be transformed by collaboration. It has to transform a marketplace or existing set of (disconnected) solutions.
A Multi-sided M2M solution is hard work to deliver.
We must never understate differences and difficulties within any platform solution be they B2C or B2B, it is not just customer experience but the collective experiences of all that chose to become part of a bigger ecosystem. A key not just lies within the robustness of the platform but within the participants in the ecosystem.
Any journey of this nature has complexity. The M2M just is highly complex by its very nature of what it is trying to address, a fundamental change in our behaviors, habits or way of life. It is more than likely as transformative and radical in its design and complex in its solutions but necessary to be straightforward and presented in its final form, as easy to adopt and engage with.
There needs to be a growing trust, a feeling of belief and the ability to learn. Any journey of this nature becomes both a leveler and a catalyst as it is full of human interactions, technology-enabled solutions and a highly digitized journey of discovery, experience, and learning outcomes, that all need to combine into a value-driven solution for all. Just tell me that is not complex to achieve?
Yet it is worth it if it really transforms something, solving real needs and delivering a far better solution than we presently have on offer, those new forms of (breakthrough) value.