Every industry is susceptible to disruption by ecosystem plays. Those who aren’t ready are at risk for value degradation. More than 40 percent of companies across 20 industries—accounting for a combined enterprise value of $26 trillion—are highly susceptible to future disruption.1
Seizing the full potential of ecosystems
Accenture Strategy surveyed 1,252 business leaders from diverse industries across the world, including 100 in the United Kingdom, to better understand the degree to which companies are capturing ecosystem opportunities. We found companies are pursuing new business models to navigate, or even lead, disruption.
Almost half of UK executives (48 percent) we surveyed said they are actively seeking ecosystems and new business models. However, executives often don’t have the experience and capabilities to design and execute market-leading ecosystems.
Great stakes. Limited progress.
Many of those we surveyed in the United Kingdom aren’t seeing the revenue growth they had predicted from ecosystem participation. While more than half of companies targeted a growth rate of 3-4 percent, only 38 percent are achieving it. Just 10 percent of companies are seeing growth of 5 percent or more from ecosystems.
A plan for forming ecosystems
Leading executives achieve performance targets and disrupt their industries by focusing on three major pillars as they form ecosystems:
- Ecosystem strategy
Executives in the United Kingdom believe that ecosystem participation allows businesses to innovate (66 percent), increase revenue growth (60 percent), access new markets (55 percent) and access new customers (53 percent). Yet companies struggle with their strategic intent and goals for the ecosystem. Many executives (78 percent) say ecosystems are important to their strategy of disruption, but 41 percent are unable to balance the current business while exploring the new. Ecosystems require new mindsets and resource allocation.
- Ecosystem business model
New business models accounted for just 1-5 percent of 2015 revenues, but are expected to be responsible for 30 percent by 2020.2 New business models thrive in an ecosystem. But to cultivate value, companies need a strong ecosystem business model that clearly identifies customers, markets, channels and the revenue model.
- Ecosystem operating model
Many business executives are uncomfortable ceding control, which must happen for an ecosystem to be successful. Company leaders must fundamentally shift their mindset—relinquishing control and allowing others to do what they do best. One area where many keep the reins tight is data. Yet data sharing is essential to sustaining an ecosystem. Though 55 percent of executives surveyed in the United Kingdom say they are using platforms to share data and/or information across businesses, many are concerned about sharing intellectual property data (45 percent) and about cyber security (34 percent).
Execute the ecosystems vision
The executives we surveyed see a strong future in ecosystems. In the next three to five years, those in the United Kingdom believe ecosystems will create new competitive advantage (53 percent), allow them to use data and analytics to better serve customers (50 percent), create new customer experiences (54 percent), and drive innovation and disruption (50 percent). These are the steps to executing an ecosystems vision:
- Shape the market play
At the centre of the ecosystem are market plays, disruptive growth opportunities with significant revenue potential for ecosystem participants. Ecosystem players should have a clear strategy for these plays: Define the vision, business case, prioritization and roadmap for the market play(s). The roadmap should outline how the ecosystem will incubate, launch and scale ecosystem products and services.
- Claim your role
Every business can determine where it fits in the ecosystem by asking: Who are our customers? Who are our partners? What are we selling? How will we monetize? Will the business choose to be the innovator that proactively defines and leads innovation? The aggregator that plays a transactional role in the ecosystem? Or the orchestrator that builds the platform and assembles the partners?
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies cannot go it alone. They need the help of partners that bring unique capabilities, data, customers and industry knowledge that can be a source of innovation. Industry leaders are recognizing the power of ecosystems—a proven construct that can drive growth.
1 Omar Abbosh, Michael Sutcliff and Vedrana Savic, “Disruption need not be an enigma,” Accenture, Accenture Disruptability Index, February 26, 2018.
2 World Economic Forum, “How to disrupt yourself,” 2016.