Adjusting to the Changing Landscape of Ecosystems

We all are being told repeatedly that opportunities will increasingly emerge outside of the traditional established lines of business, as new digital technology solutions take increasing hold.

The issue is how we go about adapting to these and taking advantage of the changes all businesses are undergoing. These will be through different approaches to designing and extracting the potential value gained and will form around ecosystems and their management, through technology solutions provided by platform providers.

I am not sure how you feel, but It seems disruption is in everything, in what we need to undertake, in what is coming towards us in change. It has a common purpose, often far less sinister than promoted, it is requiring us to re-equip and open up, as we learn to deal in this changing world where connections can emerge from anywhere at any time, offering a new ‘line of sight’ onto an existing business concept. We need to respond quickly and in different, collaborative ways. Digital challenges are everywhere, to explore and exploit.

We need to engage in different ecosystems and participate in new platform learning to take advantage of the changes taking place all around us. To quote Chuck Robbins, the Cisco CEO “We believe that no one company can deliver the full breadth of technology solutions that customers need at the pace the market requires”. It is through the increasing intensity of using data and a deep analysis where this growing need for broader collaborations becomes so essential.

Partnerships abound, not just within a specific industry but in cross-industry collaborations. Ecosystems need to form to take advantage of many rapidly emerging market opportunities. It is not just welcome to a world of ecosystems, it is learning to change from being exclusive owners into open collaborators, that build ‘greater value’ from the common need of working together, and many of these are increasingly cross-industry ecosystems.

Just recognize the changes we are undertaking in cross-industry collaborations are significant

If we recognize what it takes to build new transportation business models, it needs an ecosystem of public authorities, automakers, component suppliers, software providers and infrastructure builders to come together to make this happen

Within airports, train stations we are seeing a conscious integrating of all that makes up this travel hub, including connecting traffic updates, weather conditions, arrival and departures, airport shops, restaurants, hotels, parking terminals and flight or train understanding and on-line bookings. All of this becomes a cross-industry and service ecosystem. It requires a host (platform provider), different apps, web links and consistent ways to integrate these so those using the airport or train station can navigate their way around their personal needs. It needs an ecosystem and platform management to bring this together.

We are increasingly expecting as consumers, uninterrupted connectivity, and virtual integration. It is this constantly connecting-up that is constantly layering mini-ecosystems onto each other so experiences improve as these ecosystems connect and work out what is needed to be delivered.

If we look around we are seeing increasingly the cross-industry ecosystem exploding.  

We have new ecosystems that are building new value in offering mobile commerce, building digital into all that we undertake increasingly in retail, banking, and entertainment. We are seeing new energy solutions emerge in Agriculture, Energy, Utilities. We are seeing a ‘connected difference’ in the Automotive, Driving, linking to Postal services, electronic transfers, blockchain transactions, purchasing across most of our goods, both personal and in business and exploring concepts in Health solutions that require cross-industry collaborations.

We see electronic capital trading getting faster and faster by the application of data flows, analytics and software that automates the trading decision. We are connecting into Public Services to gain insight and seek new value. Manufacturing is connecting up through its Industry 4.0 drive.We have Artificial Intelligence increasingly working, either in the background or foreground for decision-making. We are building platforms and connecting up the individual ecosystems of (internal) knowledge into these new creators of value, based on collaboration, mutually shared interest and vision and in the co-operation that emerges around the extensive use of platforms and technology application.

The smartphone is to date, our greatest ecosystem, and platform, as individuals as it is all wrapped up into one personalized connected ecosystem and the phone is the platform. It is rapidly becoming the source of information, value generator and our personalized “dual world” as it learns what we need and is increasingly responding to mirror our world.

Just image the ecosystem of connectors we require within our daily lives, living in “smart” cities.

The opportunity to connect the providers of ‘hard’ services (energy, equipment, construction, utilities, etc) with our ‘soft’ needs (where to go, what we can do, order, where to park, what to do and see) requires huge collaborative efforts but the reward has significant benefits. Smart cities attract ‘smart’ people that attract ‘smart’ institutions and eventually ‘smarter’ business entities.

The connecting brain power allows everything to manage their own personal speed of things, a flow that can potentially reduce redundancy and enhance engagement. The connections begin to reshape everything through the data; communications, public services, responses to crisis and opportunity, being aware. The smarter in the use gets increasingly channeled, as this increasing flow of data to analyze, target and coordinate life in the city, can allow for a better way for all to connect to that city and personally identify. It changes urban life as it involves citizens increasingly in shaping the future.A connected city.

This is a very different business model for all involved.

All of these new ecosystems ‘see value’ in collaboration and connecting with each other. If you participate you gain a competitive advantage, locking out others. You can share costs and risks, collaborate with other parties not competing in your initial space but looking for ways to build a new competitive edge that requires this cross- collaboration need.

Often it needs to be figured out as it evolves. That “test and learn” in controlled environments to then rapidly scale when issues are resolved and solutions are found. Usually, it is the platform provider that has the potential edge but highest need to be technology savvy, as the role is demanding in finding solutions to the magic of “interoperable” across the different stakeholders and systems they are deploying. They need to deploy “state of the art” solutions and often this is where hosting in the cloud comes in. New features and services can be deployed faster and it is then for the partners within the ecosystem to learn and adapt, it can become a rich source of being a significant “growth driver” to all those within the ecosystem, working on the platform.

Each organization involved will need to develop their own innovative business model to meet specific needs of the opportunity identified. Each ecosystem will more than likely have different partner enterprises. If organizations themselves have not got into this “ecosystem thinking” yet they are in great danger of seeing rapid reductions of their position in the marketplace. Emerging markets are ecosystems, they are more specific, built on real consumer need and will have unique features built into the local or global needs.

A changing business model means a (massive) opening up and letting go.

It has trust as central, it has governance as absolutely essential, in clarity, focus, resolve and need. It will need the flexibility to learn and adapt to align common objectives and solutions that are rapid to resolve numerous local conflicts. Project management takes on a totally different set of dimensions when you are in a highly collaborative environment where performance is seen and swiftly judged by others within the ecosystem. A highly systematic and specific tool related environment needs to be designed and constantly calibrated across stakeholders as well as within each company participating.

Creating and accepting new business models is highly demanding and requires a much higher entrepreneurial spirit that looks constantly to trials and experiments as part of the learning and a more open approach of never being “too proud” to not change the position or solution contribution, if it ‘advances’ the understanding and final solutions needed.

This sense of ownership shifts from internally driven to externally required to be highly collaborative, having this relationship and network mindset that wants to push often novel ideas that move the solutions along and accepts and enjoys the sharing of success within the community that is all contributing their ‘fair share’ into the end result.

Is working in cross-industry ecosystems different from our past traditional market approaches?

Absolutely!. The potential value or prize must be seen as highly valued and rich in learning and innovation promise, in growth and positioning, in competitive positioning as something not to be missed. It will challenge all and force them out of their comfort zones. It needs utter commitment but a clear clarity of purpose. They are in themselves disruptive approaches, both within the established organization and in the type of collaborative model required.

It is the new intersections of a product, services, different business models and collaborative partners and breaking out and across past industry borders, that can get “hairy and scary,” yet it is working in ecosystems and within different platforms that will become the future way business and social needs will be managed. The need is to increasingly form a broader connected environment, become increasingly digital and technology determined, open and highly collaborative.

To win in the future comes from Ecosystem Design and Collaboration

Winning solutions are coming from very different market forming opportunities and these just cannot be seized alone. They will need this cross- industry and public service collaboration to discover, explore and validate some really different big market opportunities that form around an ecosystem of partners. Managing the risks this entails is equally essential.

Partners that want to pursue ambitious projects that radically alter the existing dynamics of past traditional markets, intent on recognizing they are not only disrupting themselves but building a new way to connect to markets that are forming differently from different technology-led solutions.

It is leveraging technology in this digital age that we all seem to be undertaking this as we all want to see “the prize” that has improved knowledge and insight, growth and better value as the forming points to undergo the level of changes required. Consumers are increasingly expecting it from this connectivity and knowledge access. The business provider now must find the greater potential than from their existing models to stay relevant to the consumer in this connected world.

The traditional confines of market boundaries are clearly breaking down and reforming around these ecosystems and platforms that connect partners and consumers in dramatically different Value-added ways and that ‘intent’ is driving a radically different environment to manage within.

 

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