Taking the ecosystem perspective

Joakim Sjöblom, Analyst
Anastasia Tsvetkova, Senior Researcher

Companies create value in interactions with other actors in their business environment, such as their customers, suppliers, and partners. Other actors, such as industry champions or policy-makers can affect this value creation process through creating ‘the rules of the game’: who does what and who gets what. Therefore any company can be seen as an element in a business ecosystem, where joint value creation as well as capturing, i.e. the company´s earnings, takes place. 

Through understanding the ecosystem, a company is able to evaluate whether there is potential for improvement both at company or system level so as more value is created and captured. As products and technological knowledge tend to become commoditized very quickly, this becomes the key capability for staying innovative and successful in the industrial world. 

To gain the required understanding, the first step is to map the current situation. Here the target is to assess the productivity and efficiency of the industry in focus and the position of the company within it. It includes answers to questions such as: Which are the key functions and business actors that fulfil them? What are the interconnections between them that define value creation logic on ecosystem level? What are the drivers and incentives for key actors today? This information is useful for revealing bottlenecks, problems and opportunities in the ecosystem. More concretely, such knowledge serves as a basis for any strategic decisions, be it new solution development or change of customer segment. 

Aim for improvement

Based on the analysis of the current business, the second step is to outline a ‘vision’ for redesigning the business ecosystem, where the functionality and efficiency of the whole industry is improved, and where the company is able to improve or secure its position in a sustainable way through making or driving required changes. 

Taking an ecosystem perspective allows for an increased understanding of one’s business environment.  But more importantly, it allows companies to position their products, services and solutions better, discover new opportunities for growth, and redefine their strategies. Such a proactive approach to dealing with business environment means that a company can create or at least adjust the ‘rules of the game’ instead of getting caught in someone else’s game. 

PBI Research Institute has established a method for in-depth analysis of business ecosystems adjusted to specific company needs. If you want to have more information on mapping and redesigning business ecosystems, please feel free to get in touch.

Wolf Virkki