How Digital Ecosystems Will Change Our World

Susan Walker

I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with visionary reports about the future of tech. Accenture’s 2015 Technology Vision Report is no exception. It’s densely packed with insights into digital business digital worldand heralds the rise of a game changing new phenomena – Digital Ecosystems. It’s a must-read.

Accenture’s report is no blue-skies pondering. It was written on the back of a survey of 2,000 business and technology executives and includes insights into fascinating digital developments at companies such as Home Depot, Fiat, and Philips.

From digital business

In previous reports, Accenture heralded the era of the digital business with social media, mobile, analytics, the cloud, and the Internet of Things all enabling businesses in new ways:

  • Companies are using technology not just as a way to improve their own internal processes, but to create disruptive new business models that bring competitive advantage.
  • A new level of connectivity, between machines, sensors, people, and businesses is providing enhanced customer experiences and levels of service.

And as businesses rush to find their place in this evolving digital world a new technical era is emerging: the era of digital ecosystems.

To digital ecosystem

Digital ecosystems are the result of an emerging ‘digital fabric’: The Internet of Things (IoT) is providing digital connections to objects and processes just as businesses are also driving to digitize their products and services. Companies are starting to realize that by integrating with this huge network of connections they can shape experiences and outcomes in a way that would have been impossible operating as a single entity.

In other words, by tapping into the digital ecosystem, ordinary businesses can tackle challenges that were previously well beyond their scope. Home Depot and Fiat are great examples of how this is happening.

Digital ecosystems in action: Home Depot and Fiat

Home Depot is working with the manufacturers of the domestic products that it sells, to ensure that they are all compatible with the Wink connected home system. The result? A connected home ecosystem, which includes a broad range of services that are easy to install.

Fiat is partnering with leading companies in navigation systems, media, social media and entertainment to create its own Uconnect platform. This will be integrated with the Fiat-Chrysler Group’s vehicles, giving their customers communication, entertainment, and navigation assistance while they are driving.

Such digital ecosystem initiatives are becoming increasingly common: 81% of the respondents to Accenture’s Technology Vision survey believed that in the future, industry boundaries will dramatically blur as platforms reshape industries into interconnected ecosystems.

Digital ecosystems: Opportunity or threat?

Digital ecosystems will provide a source of opportunity and threat. As the Accenture report explained, the new age of the digital ecosystem isn’t only about changing an individual company; it’s about shaping entire markets. Each enterprise will determine its own fortunes – and that’s an opportunity that no company will want to miss.

2015 digital vision trends

In addition to digital ecosystems, Accenture’s report also zeros in on 5 related trends that will drive the development of digital business.

  • ‘The Internet of Me’ highlights how the end user is increasingly becoming the center of every digital experience.
  • ‘The Outcome Economy’ explains how digital devices on the edge are enabling a new business model that shifts the focus from selling things to selling results.
  • ‘The Platform (R)evolution’ looks at how digital platforms are becoming the essential building blocks for digital ecosystems.
  • ‘The Intelligent Enterprise’ examines how software intelligence is being embedded into every aspect of businesses to drive efficiency and innovation.
  • ‘Workforce Reimagined’ looks at how ‘intelligent’ technology is contributing to a new collaborative workforce composed of both people and machines.

Accenture’s report indicates that we are just at the dawn of the digital revolution. Digital? We ain’t seen nothing yet!

Read the full report on Accenture’s 2015 Technology Vision.

The above information is based on the Accenture report, ‘Technology Vision 2015’ – Copyright © 2015 Accenture

To learn more about the technology and business forces driving digital transformation, download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

For an in-depth look at how the digital era is changing the business landscape, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.


Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.