Results tagged “online ecosystem” from EcosystemWatch.com

I'm posting this because Forrester, the analyst firm which advises so many companies on how they should manage their web presence, just destroyed their online ecosystem. History has a way of repeating itself, because we don't learn from our mistakes. In terms of online brand presence, we are often our worst competitor.

Here's the same mistake, made by another famous institution.

Back in middle of 2009, the folks at Harvard Business Review moved to a new online home. They left the shelter of the business school and established a site of their own. They switched domains from hbswk.hbs.edu to harvardbusiness.org.  

Good idea, bad execution. 

Why? Because when they moved, they switched the old site off.

At the time, I created two charts - a before and an after - to see the extent of the damage they had caused to themselves:

BEFORE:

eco_hbr_before.gif

AFTER:

eco_hbr_after.gif

Overnight, they went from being the center of the thought-leadership universe (BusinessWeek, The Economist, Knowledge@Wharton, The McKinsey Quarterly, and Strategy + Business were all satellites in the old ecosystem) to a stand-alone with no connections.  They lost 80-90% of their traffic, and more importantly, they lost their preeminent position in Google and Yahoo.

Luckily, being Harvard Business Review, they recovered.  But they lost important ground to their competitors. Knowledge@Wharton has far outpaced them online.

And now Forrester makes the same mistake.
I promised my readers on ChristianSarkar.com that I'd dig into the October HBR article on shaping strategy by JH3 and JSB.

What is a shaping strategy?


A shaping strategy is "an effort to broadly redefine the terms of competition for a market sector through a positive,galvanizing message that promises benefits to all who adopt the new terms."

Think Apple's iTunes, Salesforce.com's AppExchange, or IBM's role in eclipse.org.

A "shaping" company builds a platform for others to engage in the co-creation of value.

The shaping company builds a critical mass of participants in its ecosystem and becomes the platform of choice in its industry.

shapingstrategy.gif
In essence, the "shaper" is the critical hub in building out the dominant ecosystem. 

In our work, we sometimes find multiple "shapers" in an industry, all trying to build critical mass with their ecosystem partners. When this happens, it is often the consumer who decides which  platform or ecosystem will prevail.

Download the article here >>

What is an Online Ecosystem?

|

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.