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featureed image Published 2019-10-23, by Kellie Auman

What "Ecosystem" Means And Why it Matters for Manufacturers

The face of modern business is changing, and it’s changing rapidly. After years of gaining steam, we’re now seeing a convergence in several different technological trends which are beginning to disrupt status-quo business operations across nearly every sector. These include advances in communications, data storage and analysis, automation, AI, and collaboration tools.

Previously, businesses were taking advantage of some or all of these technologies, but almost always in standalone capacities. A factory might upgrade its robots to utilize new automation tools, but would only see it in terms of a robotics upgrade.

Today, however, that’s all changing. Companies are finding ways to combine all the advances we’ve seen in the previous 20-30 years, and they’re using them to create a very fundamental paradigm shift in business organization. That new paradigm is the ecosystem, and it’s looking to be the most disruptive force reshaping modern industries since the Internet was created.

So, what does "ecosystem" mean?

In nature, an ecosystem refers to a wide cross-section of relationships and interactions among many different species all occupying the same ecological territory. In business, the concept is very similar. A business ecosystem is a network of business partners which cross many markets and industries to create a larger cohesive business unit working collaboratively towards mutual growth.

Business ecosystems have existed on smaller scales as long as the concept of vertical integration has existed. However, today’s ecosystems are much more diverse. A factory partners with a raw materials vendor, as well as sales outlets, as in the past… but they also may partner with trade schools, outsourced tech support, “gig economy” freelance staff, trade associations, consultants, and more. These are all tied together in shared support networks, emphasizing communication and collaboration.

In this model, even end users are treated as partners in the ecosystem. After all, that end user might be a social influencer and act as a marketing agent, or provide valuable usability insights.

The idea is that by voluntarily linking all these different entities together, utilizing state of the art technology, a business can significantly increase its own effectiveness and flexibility, while also reducing costs. Companies with robust ecosystems can potentially:

  • Understand and react to market shifts more quickly
  • Provide better customer experience, and more reliable end-user support
  • Collaborate with partners to create better-focused products and service offerings
  • Share technical data across the entire ecosystems
  • Collect and analyze data from across the ecosystem
  • Provide ever-increasing incentives for more businesses to join in as partners

It even becomes possible to monetize the ecosystem itself, such as selling access to advanced training.

The future is fusion.

We’re not alone in believing ecosystems are the future, not by a long shot. According to a recent Accenture Strategy survey of over 1,250 business leaders across diverse industries, 60% of execs believed that ecosystems will disrupt their own industry. Further, 72% agreed that in five years, business models would be “unrecognizable” and that ecosystems would be a driving force in this. 84% even said that ecosystems are important to their own strategy.

LogicBay has been preparing for this future for over a decade. Our work helping indirect sales organizations create ecosystems capable of competing with direct sales organizations has now grown into something larger: FUSE, an open, collaborative, digital ecosystem framework designed to encourage partnership and growth among businesses – and individuals – at every level.

FUSE is here, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it. You can sign up for free today!

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