In this blog I will explain what a digital ecosystem is, how it works and why it is beneficial for e-commerce players.
What is a digital ecosystem?A natural ecosystem is being described as ‘all of the living things in a given area, interacting with each other’. In the digital space this works the same. Rather than acting as a company on its own, more and more companies are realizing the benefits of linking to other services and partners.
A few big companies spring to mind, like Google and Apple. They have successfully created a digital ecosystem with their own platform as the centre. All their other services are connected with this platform and with each other. Think about your Apple account - this is linked to all Apple’s services like iTunes, the App store, iCloud and Apple TV. At the same time, all these services are accessible through this one account on all your Apple devices.
A good example from a B2B perspective is Salesforce.com. Mainly known for their CRM-software, for them innovation through partnerships has always been very important. No wonder they ranked number one on Forbes Most Innovative List for three years in a row (2011, 2012 and 2013). Over the years, Salesforce.com has not only acquired multiple services like GROUPswim (now Chatter) and Jigsaw (now Data.com). But they have also built the AppExchange, a place where third parties can connect their own app, available to all the customers of Salesforce.com. The power of Salesforce.com’s ecosystem is their constant innovation of the services they provide and their constant adaptation to current trends.
Some companies create an ecosystem around them that consists of other companies. They use their services so they can improve or extend (a part of) their business. A retailer that works both online and offline probably works with at least a number of different companies: a creative agency for their campaigns, a media agency to buy ad space for them, a development agency that does implementation work on the website for them, a technology partner for analytics and optimization, and an ecommerce platform that hosts their website. By benefitting from the expertise and experience of these companies, the retailer doesn’t necessarily has to have this all in-house.
The sum is greater than the parts
A powerful digital ecosystem works well when the services are all connected with each other. Google Plus might recommend you certain websites, based on your browsing behavior on Chrome or the videos you have watched on YouTube. And the documents you have created at Google Drive can easily be shared via Gmail. As the CTO of Amazon, Werner Vogels, already described it a couple of years ago: “The ecosystem is more important than the services themselves… it's all about the ecosystem."
The importance for ecommerce players
At Qubit we are building an ecosystem as well. We look for partners who can complement our solutions and where we can complement theirs. Why? Because that will benefit the end user of both services: our clients. By having more third parties integrated in our platform, our clients have instant access to everything that relates to optimisation and creating great online experiences for their customers. And not only that, the data used in one application can easily be transferred and made actionable in our optimisation platform and vice versa.
But the greatest benefit lies in the fact that the applications are not working individually anymore, but are working as one in order to meet your business goals. This will significantly save you time and therefore money. You can now deliver all the big ideas you might have for your website and where you previously did not have the resources for.
Over the next couple of months I will take a closer look at some parts of the ecosystem of a typical ecommerce business. Next time I will be discussing what you should take into consideration when choosing an ecommerce platform.