Future Enterprise

Driving Innovation with Industry Ecosystems

IDC's Peerscape shows that innovation, flexibility and resiliency improve with a strong focus on industry ecosystems.
Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

IDC’s April 2022 Future Enterprise Resiliency survey showed continued focus on industry ecosystems to improve innovation, flexibility, and resiliency.  Business leaders in organizations surveyed realize that leveraging ecosystem partners in support of shared data & insights, shared applications, or shared operations and expertise, is an efficient and cost-effective way of running their business. 

In short, industry ecosystems provide the ability to shift and flex processes and models to meet whatever opportunity or disruption presents itself

For example, manufacturers leverage this approach for innovation and manufacturing capacity, healthcare organizations share data and knowledge to improve patient outcomes, energy companies team up and share applications to ensure quality and high performance, and retailers work with their ecosystem partners to deliver goods and services to consumers in a blended physical and digital way.

The April survey showed that 84% of respondents are beginning or already engaged in a digital first strategy, and over half expect that they will expand their industry ecosystems outside their core industry in 2023.  Indeed, much like a sports team that needs depth of talent, capability, and knowledge to optimally compete, organizations in every industry recognize the need to have an expansive, flexible, and trusted set of resources and capital accessible, when they need this, through their industry ecosystems.

Before conducting the April survey, IDC published the first Future of Industry Ecosystems PeerScape in December 2021, based on last year’s global survey data and conversations with end users in different industries. IDC found that working with industry ecosystems in an open, iterative way was a key digital initiative for executives. 

The best practices from 2021 uncovered were:

  • Institute an industry ecosystem control platform
  • Enable a bi-directional flow of data across your industry ecosystem
  • Share applications to empower industry ecosystems

In the next Future of Industry Ecosystems PeerScape, which will publish before the end of June 2022, case studies, respondent data, discussions in the field show a focus also on the following best practices:

  • Enable closer engagement of customers and consumers through industry ecosystems
  • Leverage ecosystem innovation hubs for more effective innovation
  • Enhance trust across industry ecosystems through privacy preserving computation technologies

Each of these focus areas are consistent with our Future of Industry Ecosystems global survey data: innovation is the top reason why companies expand the breadth of their industry ecosystem partners; organizations have shown a concerted interested in a focus on improving customer engagement in multiple IDC surveys, particularly since the start of the pandemic in 2020; cyber security is the top IT priority for CEOs, business line leadership, and IT in support of industry ecosystem collaboration, innovation, and joint ventures.

Achieving an open, shared approach with partners is not easy: data, applications, operations, and capital (human, assets, and financial) for every organization are disparate of course; business processes are disconnected; security protocols and systems are not unified. Therefore, having a control platform and business orchestration layer is the first step to broadening industry ecosystem collaboration. 

The future of industry ecosystems — an expansion of ecosystem partners that organizations must work with in support of any situation, whether innovation, product or service change, dynamic demand, or unexpected disruption — is rapidly progressing as the new way of working to ensure innovation, flexibility, and resiliency. 

As we saw in our recent June PeerScape, organizations are looking to innovation hubs as a way to engage with their ecosystem, as well as directly with the customer, consumer, citizen, or patient.  And they are also focused on establishing trusted business models through new technology approaches focused on security and privacy, one of the most critical enablers of ecosystem scale, fair value sharing, and ongoing innovation.

“Expanding ecosystems within and outside core industries is rapidly becoming the next evolution in digital transformation.  Where over the last five years, organizations focused on investing in digital technology, unifying data, and moving to an evidenced-based culture, the next five (and beyond) will be spent extending digital outside of the company to look for new sources of innovation, and meet customer, consumer, citizen, or patient needs in the most effective, profitable, trusted, and sustainable way,” said Jeffrey Hojlo, research vice president, Future of Industry Ecosystems.

Jeffrey Hojlo leads one of the nine new Future Enterprise practices at IDC - the Future of Industry Ecosystems. This practice focuses on three areas that help create and optimize trusted industry ecosystems and next generation value chains in discrete and process manufacturing, construction, healthcare, retail, and other industries: shared data & insight, shared applications, and shared operations & expertise. After starting his career in the CPG industry, Jeffrey has worked for the past 26 years in the IT industry at start-ups and established global companies. Jeffrey is a frequent speaker, presenter, and moderator at industry events. He is regularly cited within industry publications on design, engineering/R&D, manufacturing, innovation, & industry ecosystems.