How to Choose the Right Partnerships When Building a Business Ecosystem

“It is the long history of humankind that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

- Charles Darwin.

For many businesses today, the opportunity of joining or building an ecosystem of alliances is important to holistic success. Earlier, brands operated individually and were perceived as labels of ownership and origin . Today, brands must adapt to represent and align with the greater interests and aspirations of their customers. The scope of customer desires is vast and complex, and it’s becoming more difficult for a single company to satisfy all consumer needs. Today, partnerships and alliances between multiple companies in an ecosystem enable modern businesses to make the most of new technologies and provide value to customers quickly and efficiently.

By collaborating with other companies, not only in pursuit of financial gain, but with a shared purpose and vision, organizations can build new capacities to accelerate mutual growth towards a bigger goal. But, how do you decide on the right partners for the right opportunity? 

Insight

"It's no longer firm versus firm, you might say, but it's a battle of group versus group, a team of companies, ally together that compete against other companies."

-Ben Gomes-Casseres: Mastering the Three Rules of Business Combinations, Podcast

Take stock of current partners

Examine and assess the value each partner brings to the organization. Given the volatility of the market, to create, scale, and serve markets well beyond the capabilities of any single organization, ecosystem partners must be fully aware of each other’s assets and limitations. Familiarize yourself with who and what you can leverage in different scenarios and evaluate their skills, strengths, and shortcomings to best leverage enhanced potential.

Embrace human-centricity and diversity

Human dependency in labor relationships has been monetized since the beginning of time. Ecosystem partnerships take this up a notch. Cross-culture ideations, and collaborative relationships ecosystems enable enterprises to harness the full potential of both technological and human resources to transform and scale businesses. Accenture reports 84% executives use ecosystem strategies for disruption. Entrepreneurial ingenuity and agility combined with the scale and stability of larger enterprises can help achieve human-centric transformation.

Explore Heterogeneity

It is essential for businesses to explore varied skills in their employees, partners, or strategies. Optimizing talent and harnessing it effectively can speed up the process of pursuing opportunities. The AWS Partner Network (APN), features 100,000 organizations worldwide. For customers who need help implementing, managing, or customizing AWS, these partners are indispensable as they offer variety, credibility and room for choice. Leveraging the potential from multiple partners to provide new customer value is turning into the new GTM strategy. Partner ecosystems do more than just provide the tooling and enabling technologies for your teams. They help to develop the systems and processes that ensure your teams and digital products succeed.

Effective partnerships brings cross-industry opportunities

Partners become aware of trends and potential markets when they are actively involved or seeking opportunities with multi-industries. With Tesla moving into the energy sector, Uber expanding into the food delivery business, or Airbnb starting to offer airline booking services, the boundaries between industries continue to blur.  This will lead to more opportunities and even newer trends.

Conclusion

The complexity of customer needs requires a suite of products, solutions, and expertise to optimize and scale businesses. With effective implementation and cultivation of an ecosystem strategy, companies have the potential to reach new markets, scale, and satisfy their customers much more quickly than in the past. Are you ready to build a partner ecosystem? The Outthinker Strategy Network will explore the question in upcoming posts.

Authors

Kaihan Krippendorff
Kaihan KrippendorffFounder - OSN
Read More
Claudio Garcia
Claudio GarciaPresident - OSN
Read More
Zach Ness
Zach Ness Operations
Read More
Table of Contents