Trend 11: Increasing Corporate Ecosystems

Jan 23, 2011 Comments Off by

Businesses are increasingly interlinking online as manufacturers, suppliers, vendors, customers and affiliates learn to collaborate for mutual profit. To be successful, collaboration requires value chains glued together by trust chains.

In the world of abundance, powerful business synergies can come from collaborating in harmony with others.

Collaborating with others you trust at different levels in your sales and supply chains can set up an online eco-system where the linked participants add value to each other and profit from the tighter integration within the eco-system.

At a business level it is being driven by the benefits of integration of information, systems, databases and business processes.

Many manufacturers drive the formation of the eco-system to support the production, distribution and sales of their products, but at a simpler level online retailers are setting up extended networks of sales affiliates who act as online commission-based sales agents for retail businesses.

Whether they are a manufacturer, supplier, vendor, customer or a sales affiliate, each player adds different value to the eco-system, and synergistic benefits from cooperation and collaboration can be substantial.

Sales, marketing, customer support and production bonds become tighter, often to the point where customer-supplier relationships are strengthened so much they become locked-in to each other as a result of the mutual value provided and delivered.

Trust is the glue

Trust is the important glue required between all participants, and managing trust is one of the biggest issues within the online eco-system.

To be part of an extended eco-system, organizations need to be able to access information of others, but they also need to be able to share their own information. The ease of managing such access and sharing without issues of substantial duplication of content is often challenging, and ideally require common, open and integratable systems.

If you are a potential eco-system member, think carefully before choosing to link up with other organizations. As unnecessary as it may seem at the start and as unpopular it may make you, make sure you think about how you can quickly get out of the relationship if and when you need to.

To start with, tying your organization to others should be done in ways that loosely bind you but don’t lock you in forever. A rising tide may lift all ships in the eco-system, but don’t tie yourself too tightly to a leaky boat!

It’s important to clearly define expectations and responsibilities at the start of the relationships. The eco-system will fail or will prosper on the value each member provides and the trust that glues you together.

Questions To Ponder

  1. What online eco-systems do your customers belong to already?
  2. What eco-systems could your customers and suppliers join? How could this impact on you?
  3. What eco-systems could you join or create to strengthen your business?


Go to next trend: Increasing Disintermediation

Go to previous trend: Increasing Formation of Communities


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