Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ecosystem Advantage

Mark O'Neill (Vordel) discusses a couple of SOA projects with an interesting goal - causing your customers to use less of your products. This is not competitive advantage, at least not directly, it is an advantage for the ecosystem as a whole, which becomes more efficient, less wasteful.

Mark's examples are in the utility sector
  • EPAL - the Portuguese water board (one of Mark's own clients)
Similar thinking applies to the "pay-as-you-drive" concept in insurance, encouraging drivers to use (and pay for) less risk.

These schemes are potentially very attractive. There are three main challenges here.
  • Identification - analyzing an ecosystem systematically to discover opportunities for creating or releasing additional value
  • Mobilization - aligning the ecosystem to the new improved distribution of value - easier where there is a single powerful player or industry regulator that can drive and enforce (and perhaps fund) the initiative until it becomes self-sustaining, otherwise more difficult
  • Ecosystem side-effects - working out satisfactory multilateral solutions to complications such as privacy and security

Related Posts: Pay as you drive (Oct 2006) (June 2008) (April 2009)

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