Business ecosystems: an answer to the crisis?

For Hélène Campourcy, founder of Umantex and Pink Innov and independent director, the business ecosystem helps create value for businesses and enables them to reinvent themselves and perform effectively, especially in a complex period. Here she shares her ideal vision of a business ecosystem.

What are the main principles of the business ecosystem?

The principle of the ecosystem makes it possible to work both in collaboration and in competition and to develop the company’s abilities to create new value propositions and capture many more customers. It thus encourages innovation and growth.

The business ecosystem is in itself a concept that includes all the organizations that are able to influence your strategy, your sales, your products or even your teams. It allows you to become aware of the specific needs of your customers, your non-customers, your prospects, to better understand them and create new products and services more easily and at a lower cost.

Are ecosystems not reserved for more digital companies?

It is true that the best known ecosystems were launched by companies with a dominant technology, such as Apple, Amazon or Tencent, just to name a few. They are based on platforms that can be implemented on a large scale and facilitate control of the consumer interface, communication, disintermediation and even substitution for traditional competitors.

But the concept of ecosystem is not just reserved for a digital model. There are many examples, especially in the field of electric vehicles, 3D printing, solar energy, which work very well and are not supported by a platform.

What has COVID-19 also made it possible to reconsider in companies?

Covid-19 and the crisis it has created have reinforced the importance of interactions and their migration to digital. It has also accelerated transformations and accelerated their introduction, including in the design of new business models.

We are immersed in a context and situation that is still difficult to decipher: Many companies need to rethink their business model. Some have understood that combining skills, cost-sharing and access to technologies makes it possible to grow their “core business”, expand their network, co-create new integrated and inclusive products or services and accelerate their transformation. The goal? Generate new revenue.

What has the COVID-19 crisis spawned in ecosystems?

Covid-19 has pushed certain sectors, especially those in absolute emergency, such as health, to reconsider their positions and to think of a collective response, integrate cooperation, technology transfer between different actors to multiply supply, mobilize and multiply production capacity.

It is a real value chain set up between strategic partners, competitors or not, thus creating synergy.

How is building an ecosystem a challenge?

Building the right ecosystem is a challenge because ecosystems are complex and must also give you maximum value. They must adapt to the maturity of the company, but also to the extent to be covered and aimed at. Although a distinction must be made between ecosystems for companies that are not digitally mature and those that are or with a moderate budget, the various experiences around the world show that the efficiency and potential of ecosystems provide real benefits.

Adopting an ecosystem approach in times of crisis is a way of breaking the sector’s existing codes and enabling companies to innovate, reinvent themselves and change their business model to find new revenue. It is also another way of managing by going from an “ego” -centric system to an “eco” -centric system with an “outside-in” perspective that promotes the contribution and value sharing of each participant. This step is very important because it is one of the sources of error in business ecosystems.

From a pragmatic angle, what would be the various essential steps to building an ecosystem?

I share with you the steps that seem crucial to me to build an ecosystem.

  1. Understand the complexity and seize the opportunity that ecosystems provide
  2. Assess market characteristics and trends to ensure that reality fits into your ecosystem idea
  3. Captures the value that the ecosystem seeks
  4. Identify and map the essential contact points in the customer journey
  5. Definition of control and how it works
  6. Identify the degree of openness in the ecosystem
  7. For more digitally focused businesses, rely on a platform to accelerate movement and multiply interactions while structuring them
  8. Assess and anticipate the risk of failure

Finally ?

In times of crisis, it is often necessary to reinvent and innovate, but some companies do not have the capacity to change their business model in record time. By relying on complementary partners and a common goal, the development of an ecosystem facilitates the innovation process and enables a holistic approach to the market. It’s a way for many to climb to the next level.

I am convinced that nothing is possible without humans and that an ecosystem approach is needed to create the world of tomorrow. With Umantex, my ambition is to give the company’s value chain the opportunity to reinvent itself and execute.

Leave a Comment