Future Enterprise

Maturing Industry Ecosystem Strategy and Investments for Enhanced Decision Velocity

The key to a mature industry ecosystem is to incorporate partners from outside the core industry, learn best practices, add assets, resources, and knowledge.
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Many organizations do not work in a shared, co-innovative way with industry ecosystem partners.  They may have limited or no sharing and collaboration other than the day-to-day connection with suppliers or service providers.  For some, that may be enough. 

We think, however, that every organization can benefit from expanding the breadth and type of industry ecosystem partners, from a variety of industries.  In fact, our global Future of Industry Ecosystems survey showed that by the end of 2023, almost 60% will be expanding the number of partners they work with outside of their core industry.  This is the ultimate state of an industry ecosystem, but accessible to any size organization, even for a specific short-term project, initiative, or use case. 

However, it could be that extending outside of a core industry is not feasible or desired for an organization, so the goal is to establish a diverse industry ecosystem of partners within the core industry that support and enhance decision velocity within, and outside, their organization.

The maturity of an industry ecosystem will vary from organization to organization – and may change from a simple, short list of organizations working on a specific project or venture, to a complex, multi-participant ecosystem. 

In February 2023, we set out to determine the current state of industry ecosystems by fielding the Future of Industry Ecosystems MaturityScape Benchmark survey (report forthcoming). The survey asks respondents to self-rank themselves based on the IDC Future of Industry Ecosystems maturity curve (full report here: IDC MaturityScape: Future of Industry Ecosystems 1.0). The majority of respondents see their organizations as having a dynamic value chain in place, well beyond an ad hoc or opportunistic approach. 30% of respondents feel they have a broad range of partners that constitutes an industry, or business, network.  While under 20% of respondents note that they are actively and regularly working with partners outside of their core industry. 

While many organizations have a standard value chain in place, half of respondents do not have a multi-faceted, expanded industry network to support their business operations.  We know from our Future of Industry Ecosystems 2023 survey data that there is indeed a focus on this expansion, both inside and outside the organization’s core industry.  Partnering outside of the core industry is a nascent approach, although desired in the future, as organizations consider the use cases for the various functions within their businesses that could benefit.  This would be in addition to the standard industry network partnerships that are in place. 

Organizations are expanding their industry ecosystems to include a vast array of different participants, so that they are complemented by a varied set of knowledge, skills, capability, or capacity that they may not possess.  These participants may be classical design and supply chain partners, but also the customer, end consumer, citizen, and patient which can provide input on products, processes, and quality.  Competitors are joining forces to address common challenges or team up for innovation that benefits and progresses an entire industry – we have seen this, for example, in the oil & gas, automotive, and transportation industries.  Maturing industry ecosystems to this approach is the goal for organizations that want an on-demand, flexible approach to running their businesses – whether there is disruption to address, or opportunity to pursue.

IDC defines industry ecosystems as including a set of partners, customers, suppliers, service providers, industry organizations, governmental entities, experts, and competitors within and outside your industry that you can dynamically collaborate and innovate with as necessary. This could include industry clouds, business networks, consortia, expert forums, industry and governmental (public) organizations, supply chains, cloud platform services, consulting and systems integrators (SIs), and the end user — customers, consumers, citizens, and patients. 

As our Future of Industry Ecosystems MaturityScape Benchmark survey research shows, the first steps have been taken by many organizations to expand their industry ecosystems, establishing a network of capability, capacity, support, expertise, and knowledge that can be scaled up and down as required. The next step, according to IDC’s 2022 Future of Industry Ecosystems Global Survey as well as this MaturityScape Benchmark analysis, is to incorporate partners from outside the core industry, learn best practices, and add assets, resources, and knowledge that may not be present within their core industry.

We will continue to watch, analyze, and predict this evolution as part of our Future of Industry Ecosystems research practice, in 2023 and beyond. 

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.