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Enterprises: Harness the power of the new business ecosystem

21 May 15

Digital business is introducing new opportunities for enterprise architects to lead business innovations, according to Gartner.

It is crucial for enterprise architecture (EA) practitioners is to shift their focus to their business ecosystem and to sense and respond to changes from people, business and things, says Gartner.

"While the concept of a business ecosystem is not new, what is dramatically new, however, is the rate and scope of our ecosystem, and the introduction of people, business and things as equal players in the world of digital business," says Betsy Burton, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst.

"The emergence of a 'business moment' is the result of the emergence of digital business. A business moment exploits the connection of people, business and things and allows companies to innovate for entirely new scenarios.

“The challenge for enterprise architects and other business executives is to recognise when a business moment is about to happen and respond appropriately when it occurs," she says.

Enterprise architects who do not dramatically rethink their traditional view of partners, customers and competitors to include known and unknown people, business and things will prevent their organisation being able to create and respond to business moments, says Gartner.

"It is critical that enterprise architects recognise who and what comprises their organisation's ecosystem," says Burton.

"Know your business partners and customers, which could be people, businesses or things.

“Understand how they currently and potentially could work together.

“Reach beyond your organisation's known ecosystem to understand potential customers and business partners and how they might work together," she says.

According to Gartner, once the details about the entities across the digital ecosystem are understood, it is essential to sense specific disruptive changes, or patterns of changes, within and across the ecosystem.

Recognise any person, business and things that could be fulfilling and initiating a business moment.

These changes could be a change in how an entity initiates or processes a request. The changes could be an external disruption, such as new technology, economic changes, environmental changes, a financial shift or social upheaval.

Or, the business might proactively cause a change that would ripple through by changing a business need or business model or by introducing a new disruptive product or service, Gartner says.

Gartner believes that the majority of enterprise architects should spend at least 30% of their time exploring, understanding and responding to disruptive trends that affect their ecosystem and on augmenting their ecosystem to turn the event into a business moment.

Time is of the essence in the digital business era and a critical capability of leading enterprise architects is their ability to quickly respond to disruptive opportunities and threats and integrate these opportunities into their business, as needed, Gartner says.

"By proactively determining and classifying your business ecosystem's potential partners, you have put your organisation in a better position to respond rapidly and with a competitive response," says Burton.

"The internal and external services needed to respond to a business moment can be rapidly garnered together, thus gaining a competitive advantage.

“Understand that you may not have previously known all the potential partners for services, and you may need to expand your current ecosystem.

“However, by understanding and classifying your business ecosystem, you reduce the response time," she says.

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