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Apr 2016 - Industry Developments and Models - Doc # US41215416

Beyond Partnerships: Leveraging Business Ecosystems for Digital Transformation

By: Marc StrohleinAdjunct Research Advisor


This IDC study is an introduction to ecosystem thinking designed to help business and technology leaders think strategically about how they can evolve existing partnerships into a more dynamic ecosystem that increases business impact while erecting barriers to competition. The study identifies key ecosystem components and interactions, provides some examples of ecosystems in action, and also provides advice on approaching the creation of a business ecosystem.

The study answers three questions about ecosystems including:

  • What are business ecosystems, and how do they differ from partnerships?
  • What is necessary to move beyond partnering relationships and gain leadership roles?
  • How can businesses evolve approach creating dynamic ecosystems?

Partnerships have long been an essential part of business strategy and operations, and the complex and multifaceted nature of digital transformation (DX) makes partners even more indispensable. Yet some firms have recognized that the benefits of partnerships can be greatly expanded by creating ecosystems that combine new business models, 3rd Platform technologies, information, and stakeholder organizations and individuals in new ways to drive DX scale and impact more rapidly. Those ecosystems can deliver products, services, and experiences that would be difficult if not impossible for the individual businesses to achieve on their own.

This study focuses on digital transformation, leading in 3D, and leadership transformation.

"Business ecosystems are not just the province of the digital businesses," says Marc Strohlein, adjunct research advisor with IDC's Research Network. "Traditional businesses can adopt ecosystem thinking to evolve partner networks into powerful systems that increase the breadth and value of products and services, grow audiences, build strong competitive strengths, and deliver continuous innovation."



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