What is an Online Ecosystem?

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The traditional meaning of the term "business ecosystem" was developed in "Strategy as Ecology" an insightful article by Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien (March 2004, Harvard Business Review). In it, they defined business ecosystems as the "loose networks- of suppliers, distributors, outsourcing firms, makers of related products and services, technology providers, and a host of other organizations."

Let's define an online ecosystem as the network of sites which create a neighborhood around an industry, website, brand, product, people, or topic - it includes all your stakeholders and more - partners, suppliers, competitors, customers, analysts, commentators, journalists, bloggers, prospects, and citizens.

Whether you like it or not, your company's website sits in a neighborhood, surrounded by other sites which make up your online ecosystem.

In effect, this is your digital footprint.
Companies with large active ecosystems have large footprints. Companies with weak ecosystems, understandably, don't. Of course, the idea is to position your company in the right place - so that it will be found by your customers - past, present, and future.

How are you going to do that?  By becoming a hub in your industry's ecosystem.  And how are you going to do that?  Stay tuned.

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