Business is a Team Sport: The Importance of Growing Your Solutions Ecosystem
Cloud computing, software-defined networking, Internet of Things, AI, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing: Are you trying to go it alone developing innovative solutions using these and other complex technologies? That’s no longer a tenable position for the vast majority of companies. Very few can continue to innovate and serve customers at the pace necessary to be a market leader using even just a few of these technologies. More than ever, business is a team sport, so it’s important to strategically develop and nurture an ecosystem of business and technology relationships.
As recently as, say, five years ago, one could successfully focus on a handful of “core” software and hardware partners. But today’s accelerating pace and breadth of technical change and complexity mandate a portfolio view of partners. The only option for survival is to continuously harness and leverage innovative companies in the marketplace, providing a kind of “plug and play” expertise to be used as needed.
At Accenture, for example, our Ecosystem & Ventures team manages more than 200 active partners with whom we collaborate and innovate new solutions for our clients. At the same time, we actively track thousands of potential partners in our broader ecosystem for the next wave of technological advances that can serve as the foundation for future solutions.
To be successful, innovation needs to be brought to market rapidly. For both Accenture and Cisco, we want to tell our customers, “We’ve assembled a business solution with our ecosystem partners to address your unique challenges and goals.” That also requires being proactive (and provocative) and actively taking that solution to companies that may not even be aware that a solution already exists for their business challenges.
So we’ve created an ecosystem management function inside of Accenture where we manage these joint solutions like products—with joint sales activities, investment plans and discrete lifecycles.
Accenture and Cisco excel at using and combining our ecosystems on behalf of customers. Cisco can focus on its strength, which is technical innovation, and we at Accenture can focus on our strength, which is industry innovation and solutions development. In that way, 1 + 1 ends up equaling much more than 2. That’s what makes both of us unique in the market—especially as a partnership. Customers get the best of two market leaders as well as amplification of our combined ecosystems.
Learn more about our partnership, and how we’re helping customers transform their business to a digital-ready, cloud-ready network.