More than the sum of its parts: although this may be an overly simplistic description of a technology ecosystem, it’s also highly accurate. Led by an overall orchestrator that brings together a network of providers, suppliers and vendors in a collaborative environment, an effective tech ecosystem can deliver value that far outstrips any single product or service in isolation.
With the delivery of greater value to clients through better overall solutions as the priority, a thriving ecosystem allows participants to work together in pursuit of new answers to emerging challenges. From solving everyday problems to the creation of unique business models, an ecosystem-led approach can deliver transformative results for clients, partners and orchestrators alike.
In this article – which draws on some of the themes discussed in our new paper Technology Ecosystems and the Future of Commercial Finance – we explore some of the main benefits of an ecosystem-led approach to technology, and how such a framework can bridge the gap between lenders and their customers.
1. Collective innovation
It’s said that two heads are better than one, and an ecosystem-based approach to technology takes that proverb to its logical extreme, allowing ecosystem users to tap into a wide variety of expertise, experience and ideas. An environment of this nature can act as a crucible for innovation, underpinning the collaborative development of new solutions and services – particularly those designed to meet previously unserved needs and segments.
Aggregate expertise is only one part of the story, of course. Ecosystems can also provide access to a pre-vetted, well-aligned network of products and solutions. At the same time, this helps to simplify integration with the orchestrating company’s systems, ensuring that users can spend more time focusing on their core offering and less worrying about architectural incompatibilities.
2. Faster time to market
As noted above, ecosystems are typically comprised of an assortment of participants selected specifically for commonalities in their approach to technology, functionality, and working practices. This cohesion fuels agility, allowing partners and participants to iterate rapidly and take advantage of new features as they become available.
Ecosystems provide a fast-paced and collaborative environment that allows clients to chase down new opportunities at speed, rather than wait for their partners to catch up.
3. New technologies at scale
The past decade has seen the proliferation of specialist technology providers. On the one hand this is a positive development, providing banks and lenders with access to a growing selection of increasingly tailored products and services. On the other, it has also made it increasingly difficult to understand which options are likely to be the most effective.
The benefit of an ecosystem-led approach is that the orchestrating entity is essentially laying down the foundations for success, providing a clear and viable path forward. Clients can select from a curated network of transformative technologies, giving them greater confidence in the choices they make and eliminating the need for (often painful and expensive) experimentation.
4. Increased flexibility
Options are good, and ecosystems are full of them. With the hard work of vendor selection and integration already done by the orchestrator, along with those partners who independently demonstrate integration capabilities, users can reap the benefits of having a wealth of choice in terms of the systems and solutions they use for specific needs.
Flexibility is more than just choosing to integrate a new product or service. It’s about the ability to choose how to tackle a specific problem – and to experiment. Ecosystems offer an inherently open way for banks and lenders to build out their value proposition.
5. Solution agility
Of all the things an ecosystem is designed to do, simplified integration is arguably one of the most important. To be truly effective, a technology ecosystem must enable users to switch and supplement products and solutions in a relatively simple way, allowing them to harness new and emerging technologies in days rather than months.
When this does happen, users can enjoy a high degree of fluidity around product integration, allowing them to add and remove individual components with ease, addressing the changing needs of their customers in an agile and responsive way.
6. Stability and security
In a successful technology ecosystem, stability and security should come as a given. With the individual components being sufficiently modularised, and a zero-trust environment established, users can rest easy in knowing their data is safe and secure.
At their core, technology ecosystems empower a smarter and more collaborative approach to innovation - enabling finance providers to do more for their customers, faster and more easily than ever before. With the right participants and partnerships in place, a thriving tech ecosystem allows users to focus on the value they can derive from technology - rather than the technology itself.
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