In our digital and outcome-oriented economy, you need need to drive more revenue from your customers, promote new products and drive more engagement from them across your product lines.
Nevertheless, interacting with these customers is challenging as it requires a consistent and shared understanding of them across organizations silos. Most notably, it requires that you interact with other entities not directly related to these customers, for instance, your suppliers, manufacturers or partners. (Think of Amazon as a reseller of many goods they obviously do not manufacture)

So what does it mean?
It means that you have to identify every entity you are interacting with.
Would this include your customers? Of course!
Would this also include your partners, suppliers and manufacturers? Yep!
And what about Things, IoT-ish and other connected devices? Yes, these are also members of the ecosystem!
So we went from a customer-only view to a set of entities comprising Customers, Partners, Suppliers, Manufacturers, Connected Devices and also individuals.
And with the advent of the Internet of things, the ecosystem is growing even further at a tremendous rate!

But wait, there is more!
Why don’t we consider your internal departments (Business Units) as members of their ecosystem? They also use (respectively provide) services from (resp. to) other departments and may be charged back from this observed usage (aren’t they?).
And why don’t we consider individuals from these departments, wouldn’t they have the need to share/exchange documents between each other, with partners or suppliers?
And why don’t we consider these systems (one may call them Applications or Business Application or Mobile Apps) that also exchange information with the very same Partners and/or suppliers?

Hence, your ecosystem is now much bigger than originally identified in terms of its scope, variety and size, therefore in terms of volume and frequency of information exchanged.

Today’s business isn’t designed for a digital world. 94% of European respondents (from “Digitize your Business Strategy” Forrester report) have some sort of digital strategy in place, but decision-makers are overly optimistic about the completeness of these strategies. To truly succeed in digital is to reshape the customer experience toward the customer’s desired outcome — not just improve the existing journey. Many companies miss the mark and don’t even know what their ecosystem is.

One of the pillars of the Digital Transformation (more on this in upcoming posts) is really about having an exhaustive and intimate knowledge of the ecosystem (and its members) that spans your entire organization and even further. You have to be fully aware of who your ecosystem is, what its members are doing, experiencing, using along their customer journey so that you can make the right decisions to deliver them the right services & products with the most relevant business model (transaction-based or subscription-based) and with the expected customer experience.