Why digital ecosystems matter for manufacturing companies

Many digital transformation initiatives started by digitally transforming their customer-facing front-ends, driven by sales, marketing, or customer service. The second stage of the digital journey was to digitize the company’s back-end processes and integrate them with the customer-facing processes. We now believe that companies have started to make their way to the next level of digital transformation, digital ecosystems.

In our PAC report “Towards new digital ecosystems”, which was published last year, we describe in detail what we perceive as drivers for digital ecosystems, why companies have to consider ecosystem thinking in their strategic decision-making, and what impact digital ecosystems have on IT and digital transformation strategies.

As a recap of this report, here is a summary of the major growth drivers for new digital ecosystems:

  • The potential of an ecosystem to create value for customers and meet their demands for integrated services is far beyond what a single company can achieve.
  • Customers want fast and integrated solutions to specific problems in a given context without having to deal with many different vendors, websites, apps, payment solutions, etc. The more integrated a service in a given context, the higher its value for the customer.
  • Technology advancements have massively simplified digital service aggregation as well as ecosystem collaboration.

In our recent report “Digital ecosystems – relevance, examples and implications for manufacturers” we elaborate on the relevance and implications of digital ecosystems for manufacturers.

Manufacturing companies increasingly understand that long-term business success will no longer only depend on their ability to produce high-end quality products or provide first-class services in their field. They are becoming aware of the fact that long-term business success very much depends on the ability to offer their customers products and services that provide high additional value beyond the manufactured physical product itself. Therefore, improving and maintaining high levels of customer experience has become a major goal among manufacturers today. And, leveraging capabilities from an ecosystem offers the potential to create value for customers and meet their demands for integrated services far beyond what a single company can achieve. This is where ecosystem strategies come into play and why digital ecosystems should matter for manufacturing companies.

We currently see various ecosystem strategies in the market as shown in the picture below:

Dimensions and examples of ecosystem strategies in the manufacturing industry

In order to enable ecosystem strategies to successfully translate into digital ecosystems, all these different ecosystem strategies will require related processes, enabling technologies and people involved to be set up and aligned accordingly.

For a more detailed analysis of this topic, we recommend taking a look at our full online report (subscription-based).