In my last post, I discussed how businesses are increasingly integrating business functions with third parties and their platforms, a key trend we discovered in the course of this year’s Technology Vision. In this post, I will show you how, by building their role in the digital ecosystems of today, businesses are laying a foundation for the digital value chains of tomorrow.

Forging new value chains

Who will your company be in 10 years?

It depends on the digital value chain choices made today. As platforms become the new normal for how business is done, companies must seize this opportunity to begin to build a new digital value chain.

The mandate for leaders is to capitalize on new relationships, building a network of digital partners that will not only enhance their existing business, but also allow them to forge their way into newly emerging digital ecosystems.

Many of the executives we surveyed already know this:

27% of executives report that digital ecosystems are transforming the way their organizations deliver value.

Ecosystems of customers are aggregating around several new digital platforms, and businesses are more motivated than ever before to take advantage of these entry points. Communication platforms like WeChat and WhatsApp, and artificial intelligence intermediaries like the Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri represent distinct digital ecosystems delivering unprecedented access to customers—and businesses are flocking to them.

These platforms give companies rapid access to pools of customers and, in the process, can drive more sales, improve customer service, or create a better customer experience. But in doing so, they also transform businesses’ value chains in a way that challenges traditional thinking.

The ecosystem trend isn’t restricted to customer-facing companies, however; other industries, such as connected healthcare, precision agriculture and autonomous transportation, are transitioning to digital ecosystems. These vast market shifts will bring new digital value chains—and every business must find where they fit into a disrupted industry. To get there, each organization must decide which ecosystems to join and what role to play.

ACCENTURE PREDICTS that the competitive advantage of tomorrow won’t be determined by one company alone, but by the strength of the ecosystems chosen, and the company’s plans to help the ecosystems grow.

First steps are already in place

As businesses increasingly rely on platforms and software-as-a-service (SaaS) to support bigger pieces of their technology, they are inherently investing in larger ecosystems that will impact where the organizations will grow.

It is important to remember that few of these client–vendor relationships are one-to-one, but one-to-many. These ecosystems of technology vendors are rapidly coalescing, and the entire C-suite must understand that what may appear as an off-the-shelf or monthly subscription investment for a company is, in fact, a deep commitment to a network of current and future partners.

Similarly, each platform commitment means easier future engagement with other companies on the platform using the same infrastructure—and more difficult partnership with those companies that have committed to other platforms. Essentially, by choosing a cloud platform provider, companies are likely selecting the pool that their future digital partners will come from.

In my next post, I will offer some conclusions and recommendations.

In the meantime, take a look at the full Technology Vision 2017 report.


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