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Ecosystems and hybrid integration

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The theme of #BetterTogether holds strong with Axway this year. This was the theme behind this year’s internal kickoffs as well as our big IMAGINE SUMMIT customer events. This theme ties our organization together and embraces our customers, partners and staff for a greater potential than we can achieve alone. Further, this theme naturally aligns with and is behind the premise of a hybrid integration platform strategy. There are too many facets of #BetterTogether in talking hybrid integration platforms to fully unpack in this note; you can get cues in this blog post about hybrid integration platforms.

I have recently blogged about “digital transformation” and “customer experience” being big shifts and drivers directing leading organizations to a hybrid integration platform strategy. I now go one level deeper in #BetterTogether with ecosystems and hybrid integration.

Ecosystems and hybrid integration

Our theme sits behind one of the top drivers for HIP, embracing the notion of ecosystems as #BetterTogether. I’ll touch on ecosystems in four levels:

  • At a macro level – harness new ecosystem driven business models to make or disrupt markets,

  • At the co-create level – create new solutions and delivering new business outcomes for customers with others – don’t go it alone,

  • At the IT Transformation level – serve an ecosystem of developers and integrators with self-service to enable digital scale (these ecosystems could be internal communities of interest, lines-of-business, partners or external),

  • At the traditional level – better-enabling connectivity with your ecosystems speeds and fuels business results from those relationships.

hybrid integration platform enables and empowers ecosystems at all levels!

Ecosystems play a key role in Digital Transformation

In The Digital Business Playbook, Forrester states: “Digital leaders disrupt the market by embracing emerging technologies and digital ecosystems to deepen customer relationships, rejig operating models, and build new sources of revenues.”[1].

  1. Drive new revenue through experiences that stem from ecosystem driven business models.

Ecosystem driven business models create value in new ways. There is much written on the subject. The panacea is bringing together a vibrant network of producers and a vibrant network of consumers to facilitate an exchange of value. Uber. Airbnb. EBay. You get it. There are others – Pluralsight, for example, is a technology skill platform. Producers create training modules. Consumers come to learn. Deloitte has a great blog with a simple definition of a platform business model.

According to Accenture “Platform ecosystem participants deliver value by making platforms more resilient and robust”[2].  Further, from the executives surveyed, “In the next three to five years, they believe ecosystems will create new competitive advantage (56 percent), allow them to use data and analytics to better serve customers (50 percent), create new customer experiences (46 percent), and drive innovation and disruption (44 percent)”[3]

Read the Accenture paper “Cornerstone of future growth: Ecosystems.”

What’s the point? Business Leaders are seeking ecosystem business models to make and disrupt markets. CIOs will have to implement and support with technology. A Hybrid Integration Platform (a platform in itself) is not a platform business model in a box – it is, however, an enabling technology to opening data and innovation to support platform business models. Platform driven business models demand agility and connectivity.

  1. Drive experiences through ecosystem driven innovation and co-creation.

Ecosystem driven innovation and co-creation are essential to create an experience that will change markets. You’re going to need to think outside of your box – no matter how big your box is. Your box is both your line of business and your company as a whole. Think outside of it. The experience of your product, your line of business, or your company includes and reaches other organizations. To revolutionize this experience you need to open up and come together with others to revolutionize the experience. Your journey to co-creation starts with embracing and investing in relationships with other organizations to co-create with.

In his book Co-create, David Nour writes, “When Companies think creatively about how to develop compelling experiences for their customers, the brainstorm often leads beyond their own internal capabilities. They begin to see how to create greater value for their target relationships by partnering with other firms to co-create exceptional value.”[4]

Read “Digital transformation: Realize business results.”

As whole companies evolve to be “Digital.” IT is also transforming. These last two ecosystem topics touch IT transformation through a Hybrid Integration Platform Strategy.

  1. Serve an ecosystem of developers and integrators with self-service to enable digital scale

A Hybrid Integration Platform Strategy is at the heart of IT transformation in the digital era. A HIP serves an ecosystem of developers and integrators to scale integration and innovation outside the confines of IT’s capacity. Organizations approaching HIP are approaching with one of two things in the background. The first revolves around lines-of-business and projects that have acted with autonomy, which gave speed but created a free for all in terms of integration technologies and with that risk. The other is a paralysis from the past operating model – the “ticket taker” model where IT was the bottleneck unable to keep up with the pace of innovation required by the business. Whichever of these came first, a HIP approach serves to scale integration in an organization by empowering ecosystems of developers and integrators while maintaining corporate oversight to data.

What’s most interesting is, as the business drives for disrupting and making markets through ecosystem driven business models, it’s a HIP that enables the pace and scale of innovation. Further, as the business ventures into co-creation to build a new future with other organizations, it’s a HIP that opens data to innovation and sharing with the other parties in co-creation.

  1. Enabling connectivity with your ecosystems speeds and fuels business results from those relationships

Finally, a core tenant to business-to-business of any flavor, traditional EDI, API led B2B or otherwise is the pace and effectivity of managing the digital relationship. In other words, how fast to connect. How flexible can you be? How sticky can you be (or not be)? A Hybrid Integration platform brings together multiple integration disciplines along with self-service (noted above in #3) to allow lines-of-business to manage their own business partner connectivity and relationships reducing time to connectivity (which drives revenue faster). This can reduce costs of IT staffing to play the middleman and also results in increased customer satisfaction.

Traditional thinking stands. Remove friction to enabling business processes at the edge of your enterprise.

All four of these notions of ecosystem benefits are part of a HIP conversation. Where are you in this journey with ecosystems?