What Is The Value of a Business Ecosystem?

We all know that the key success factors for companies have fundamentally changed.

The new business environment is forcing them to rethink their strategies, organizational and business models, and their capabilities.

In order to maintain their positions and grow, many companies are creating a community, or becoming a part of a business ecosystem.

 

Why a business ecosystem?

For a small company today, being a part of a business ecosystem provides mechanisms to leverage technology, achieve excellence in research and business competence, and compete against other larger companies.

Rather than resisting the change, the companies have to reshape and align their business goals and include a business ecosystem - as being a part of one is crucial to succeed.

This provides important benefits to each member and understanding the benefits of the business ecosystem you are a part of, is necessary to practise a flourishing business activity.

 

What are the goals of the business ecosystem?

 

Facilitate collaboration

One of the key characteristics of a business ecosystem is that the achievement lies beyond the capabilities of any individual actor, organization, or a group.

By adjusting strategies, processes, and tools to fit into the business ecosystem, companies and individuals need to find new approaches to manage resources, as oftentimes these are critical to their success.

For instance, collaboration between one company that may be specialized in research and another that specializes in export and distribution provides both companies with economic advantage.

Being a part of the business ecosystem always includes co-evolving and co-operating with other members. While some of the members fiercely compete, they also collaborate to ensure certain standards, monitoring, practice, and learning.

On a global scale, business ecosystems are driving new collaborations that address certain social and environmental challenges. Such achievements include water resource management, poverty, and food safety.

In the end, every member benefits if they collaborate.

 

Harness innovation

Being a part of a business ecosystem requires a change of behaviour; this behavior includes collaboration and connection across different fields of expertise and knowledge.

“An innovation is more than an invention. An innovation may lower the cost of producing what a company already produces, enhance the value of the company’s output, or allow the company to reach new customers”.

(Tushman and Anderson, Managing Strategic Innovation and Change: A Collection of Readings, 2004)

For a business ecosystem to be healthy and sustainable, it is necessary to create value within in order to provide growth potential and attract and retain members.

And to create value means to innovate

The open source community is a great example of how the business ecosystem can be used to harness innovation, worldwide.

Being a part of the business ecosystem means you have an access to smart resources, innovators and problem-solvers, whether they are working independently, or within research organizations, or large companies, or if they are suppliers or customers.

 

Effective use of technology resources

In the recent years, investing in digital infrastructure translates into investing in a powerful platform that helps to scale participation and collaboration.

Platforms bring together thousands (and, in many cases, millions) of independent participants, who benefit from enhanced leverage, specialization, and flexibility.

As they help to make resources and participants more accessible to each other, platforms are also becoming powerful catalysts for rich business ecosystems

While some platforms are designed to enable connections between potential buyers and sellers, other are focused on the distributed development of new products, services, and solutions.

Moreover, business ecosystems often exist on top of powerful new business platforms.

According to Yochai Benkler,

A platform as a business ecosystem is “a technical and organizational context in which a community can interact to achieve a specific purpose.”

Whether you want to create and manage the business ecosystem, or to become a part of one, an open environment that allows collaboration and cooperation is needed for a business ecosystem to thrive. Such environment is provided within the capacity and resources of the knowledge networks.

The key focus of knowledge networks is to connect (and mobilize) people and resources to achieve a shared goal through learning, knowledge sharing and socialisation.

Therefore, for a community who wish to leverage potential of its business ecosystem, knowledge networks are powerful tools that improve performance, foster innovation and capture more value for its users as they are designed to facilitate connection and coordination.

 

Accelerate learning

A business ecosystem provides tremendous potential for companies to grow.

For companies that are no longer just a member of a single industry, connection across different fields of expertise and knowledge translates into learning, and learning today comes from everywhere.

The businesses that take part in creating knowledge, thus accelerate learning, will see the most sustained and important benefits.

Moreover, the goal of the business ecosystem is to provide agile and effective collaboration that enables constant learning process. Once again, one may see the important role a technology plays in accelerating learning. 

Knowledge networks are focused on bringing together a broad array of relevant resources, helping users of the platform to connect with the most appropriate resources. In such vibrant online environment, users share insights, skills, expertise and knowledge and over time facilitate the learning process.

 

The imperative for business to learn and share knowledge has never been greater and learning is accelerated in the co-creative environment of  the business ecosystems.

Business ecosystems have reshaped the economy, providing superior value to its members and bringing a diverse set of capabilities and innovation to the solution very quickly.

Leveraging powerful collaborative technology, business ecosystems more effectively address changes, achieving better outcomes on a global scale.

 

 

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