According to IT analyst firm Gartner, a digital ecosystem is ‘an interdependent group of enterprises, people and/or things that share standardized digital platforms for a mutually beneficial purpose, such as commercial gain, innovation or common interest, growth and shareholder returns.’
As a matter of fact, the world of business has gone mad for digital ecosystems in the last few years, partly driven by the awareness of technologies like Blockchain that make it possible to create a federated and trusted digital marketplace for anything.
Purpose and benefits
The purpose of a digital ecosystem is to provide the data processing capability needed support a community of users in the delivery of a process or function.
The benefit of using a common digital ecosystem across a community is to reduce frictional costs, not to mention the cost of operating IT for each contributor. With Digital ecosystems, IT costs are shared by the community, probably in the form of a subscription charge.
A good example of a digital ecosystem is a city-wide Internet of Things platform. These are being developed by leading cities around the world including Barcelona, London and Tallinn in Estonia. The principal of a city-wide digital IOT ecosystem is to enable all digital services to be provisioned and paid for using a common technology substrate. It means that citizens and visitors can register for a service with their ID and then pay for (and consume) services more easily. Examples of services include car park payments, transport payments, lifelong learning and gym fees, computer printing and copying etc.
For any such digital ecosystem, a digital platform is required able to manage and house applications deployed as services.
NDMC pioneered the invention of the very first code-less enterprise grade digital platform to support digital ecosystems in 2003 with the development of Encanvas. With the Encanvas Digital Platform, NDMC has delivered projects focused around the subject of Digital Ecosystems since 2003. The first ecosystem we created was for Transport for London in 2004 to manage advanced roadworks plans across greater London. This required over 100 organizations to submit, view and manage plans in a coordinated fashion. Many of our clients required more clarity over their customer profitability and buying behaviours. Furthermore, they found the use of many different software tools as being unhelpful in decision making. In the light of cloud computing advances, it’s now possible to create overarching digital platforms to harvest, process and analyze customer-related data. As a matter of fact, most data used in the enterprise is customer-related – it just takes a re-invention of data architectures to realize it!
Wikipedia description of a digital ecosystem
A good article by The Daily Telegraph on what a digital ecosystem is
Forbes article on how to capitalize on the use of a digital ecosystem