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School of Business | Department of Business Technology | Information Systems Science | 2009
Thesis number: 12200
Creating and sustaining successful business ecosystems
Author: Karhiniemi, Marko
Title: Creating and sustaining successful business ecosystems
Year: 2009  Language: eng
Department: Department of Business Technology
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; liike-elämä; business life; innovaatiot; innovations; diffuusio; diffusion; ohjelmistot; software
Pages: 108
Full text:
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Key terms: business ecosystem; innovation diffusion; innovation management; innovations; network externalities; network effect; competitive intelligence; strategy; openness; software; liiketoimintaekosysteemi; innovaatiot; diffuusio; innovaatiodiffuusio; innovaatiojohtaminen; verkkovaikutus; kilpailija-analyysi; strategia; avoimuus; ohjelmistot
In our interconnected business environment, companies rely increasingly on networking in order to achieve market success and sustain performance. The networking involves interaction between members in multiple aspects comprising information and asset exchange with a range of operations and technologies. In order to leverage the competencies within the entire network, the companies need to comprehend the network of business activities and appreciate management of assets, which it doesn’t directly own but are critical for its success.

The networked business activities include valuable physical, intellectual and financial assets exemplifying positive feedback in terms of network externalities when connected to and influencing each other. These networked activities create and distribute value among members in the network. Since the business networks traverse industries and encompass widespread activities, interpreting them requires an alternative approach to business network thinking. Business networks as a business ecosystem seems to provide powerful metaphors in understanding the network activities as a whole. It provides insight with analogies to biological ecosystems when appropriate, but extends the theories to business environment when needed.

The thesis contemplates business ecosystem theories in creating and sustaining successful ecosystems. Two alternative approaches are proposed, where an ecosystem is created with and without adaptation to the existing environment. The approaches consist of multiple steps having strategic options to be selected and lead to business ecosystem management. Active management is essential in sustaining the successful business ecosystem evolution and shape the ecosystem in a favourable direction. In the active management, the thesis uses business ecosystem, network externalities and innovation diffusion theories. Additionally, the thesis constructs a competitive intelligence analysis framework and extends ‘openness versus closed’ choices to support ecosystem active management. Furthermore, the thesis presents a case study of developer driven mobile software business ecosystem to reflect and concretise the discussed theories.

The two alternative approaches and the case study indicate that in order to create and successfully sustain a healthy ecosystem, the additional proposed parameters with the constructed framework are needed. Similarly, the extension of ‘openness versus closed’ choices are in line with the latest findings. Moreover, the presented case and proposed strategic steps seem to delineate faced options in an ecosystem evolvement and analytically support related activities in business environment analyses in a big Finnish company.
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