When digital businesses expand, they make the opportunities, threats, and constraints of business ecosystems evolve. With more than 30 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, the complexity only tends to be greater.

So not every organization should take a leading role in a digital business ecosystem, but all of them will need a digital platform strategy, says Gartner.

This strategy varies from company to company. Some organizations will develop a business platform model that will encompass suppliers, consumers, and employees to create or exchange goods, services, and social interaction. Others can interact with digital platforms from different organizations.

Regardless of configuration, the strategy must integrate business and IT needs, and establish a collective leadership vision. Companies can choose what will make the most sense for their organization and long term business goals.

This process can be divided into four stages, according to Gartner.

1 – Explore partnerships

 Participation in a business ecosystem will affect how CIOs determine strategic and operational investments. These ecosystems must be deliberately integrated to enhance the overall corporate strategy. CIOs need to collaborate with their partners to decide whether the main objective is to create an ecosystem or to integrate with those of other companies. Larger organizations can support a combination of approaches, while high-performing organizations often leverage ecosystems to co-create solutions.

It is important to consider scenarios on how business ecosystems will evolve in the future, from both a business and IT perspective. CIOs can work with partners to guide discussion about needed services and products.

2 – Plan IT

Digital platform strategies require CIOs to integrate business and technology planning. These executives need to connect the idea of evolving digital platform plans with improved business strategy by defining a high-level instruction to align business objectives with ecosystem strategy and ensuring the inclusion of viable items and technological and Business. When planning, you need to be aware of which IT strategic planning business and scenarios are more or less likely to occur and review the implications, limitations, interdependencies, and risk of the digital platform strategy.

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3 – Deliver value

Business and technology risks and opportunities will significantly influence how CIOs support digital platforms. Digital business platforms must create value for employees, customers and partners. More importantly, they must attract customers who want to use the ecosystem. CIOs should remember that creating ecosystems is difficult, managing them will be even more challenging. This means a need to develop new requirements for integration, security, compliance, and reputation risk with governance that ensures the platform’s equal behavior.

CIOs should create a core team to strengthen the digital platform strategy and identify potential monetization tactics and impacts on risk. In addition, it is necessary to clearly define business-oriented results, decide whether the company has risk tolerance and whether it has time to build its own platform or should seek to acquire one.

4 – Evolve the business architecture

As business ecosystems expand, CIOs will have to manage ever more complex digital platform architectures. These executives should work with their business partners to find out which upcoming scenarios are most likely for digital platforms and to select the type of architecture needed to support future plans. This includes defining whether ecosystems will be supported internally or externally and the roles of the main provider of the digital platform, the consumer and the platform owner. CIOs should focus on technological growth, but also on making the business architecture evolve to support governance, trust, strategy, reputation, security, and economics.