The notion of ecosystem and its management by a dedicated person, the Chief Ecosystem Officer, has appeared in the United States and is becoming more democratic within large companies.
One of the major consequences of the pandemic has been the acceleration of the digital transformation of companies. This dynamic is positive and it is estimated today that two thirds of the world’s GDP are dependent on, influenced or driven by digital technology. As a result, the traditional client-supplier relationships have profoundly changed in nature. We are now talking about an Open Ecosystem and this must be piloted, like any other department of the company.
Today, a company can be defined by its extended ecosystem, and in particular the interactions between the various stakeholders, including customers and suppliers, but also the business teams (finance, human resources, IT, supply chain). Harmonious in appearance, the reality on the ground is singularly different, complex, without a panoramic view. Furthermore, the sector is currently facing a lack of available resources. Thus, 40% of our customers claim to have difficulty finding the right resources at the right time, in the right place, if not at the right price. Talents have become rare, difficult to recruit, even more difficult to retain. Hence a risk of maladjustment to the current digital challenges if the mode of organization, relations with customers and suppliers do not change.
The notion of ecosystem and its management by a dedicated person, the Chief Ecosystem Officer, has appeared in the United States, and is becoming more democratic within large companies. This notion favors associations by cooptation with major IT partners, but also with the world of start-ups. We no longer speak of a traditional alliance as it has existed for a long time, because the effectiveness of the latter can come up against the organizational asperities of a company. The Chief Ecosystem Officer must know how to erase potential areas of conflict related to power or skills, to promote cooperation between the different actors. This common vision within the ecosystem is the key to a successful digital transition.
Moreover, with the return of inflationary tensions, the rise in short and long-term interest rates, and the fall in the valuations of companies (private or public), the ecosystem provides a real leverage effect capable of attracting investors. . In unstable times, visibility into a company’s medium-term revenue stream is reassuring if not decisive. One of the challenges identified in recent years has been to be able to increase the recurring nature of turnover, in particular by selling maintenance commitments over a long period to ensure an irreproachable quality of service. Thus, a major French tire manufacturer no longer sells tires for trucks, but an availability commitment, thanks to sensors to determine the condition of tires in real time and a network to send information back.
Such innovative services, which make the best use of operational and external data, have emerged over the past five years. However, the talents needed to imagine and implement them are multiple (Internet of Things, networks, data science, orchestration) and rarely available within a single company. On the other hand, we can solicit them in the ecosystem. Each member contributes; the whole group benefits. Innovation no longer comes from a single entity, but from partners closely linked around a common project where customers and suppliers have defined a new approach to success.
The job of Chief Ecosystem Officer is not a revolution, but an evolution of the Chief Digital Officer, who appeared in 2010. Mastering several fields and especially digital, the CDOs have tried to “push the walls”, to break down the silos within companies, to improve customer relations. Their contributions were generally beneficial; we owe them in particular a successful evangelization for cloud and SaaS techniques and methodologies. Involving customers, suppliers and partners in the growth of their business is now part of their roadmap.