Business ecosystems have started to play an increasingly major role for manufacturing. As people and things become connected, no manufacturer can successfully meet growing customer expectations on its own. Non-traditional players, often without any manufacturing legacy, are innovating service layers on top of vanilla product offerings.

Mass customization and innovative service experience will drive tomorrow’s profit and revenue. Strongly customer-focused manufacturers with service-oriented offerings will enjoy a premium against the competition. It will all be about the context, collaboration, and servitization. And this can be achieved either by delivering data-driven value-added services or by adding products or services from other companies to an existing product. Collaborating in ecosystems — and automating their efficiencies — will therefore become a key capability for manufacturers, and products will become platforms in new business ecosystems. Manufacturers will have to establish appropriate business ecosystem strategies sooner or later to achieve success, if not for long-term survival.

The good news is that many manufacturing companies across segments are looking for next-generation automation and collaboration models that will support supply chain transformation, production, and customer experience innovation. Direct to consumer and B2B businesses will leverage technology enablers such as automation, blockchain data, and AI-driven capabilities to achieve business performance objectives and differentiate.

Manufacturing Business Ecosystems (M-BEs) are a common platform where traditional industry silos coalesced into networked ecosystems where multiple players, including the ones outside manufacturing, coevolve one or more specific capabilities for synergistics economic outcome.

IDC believes that manufacturers need to scope out the following key issues to build up a strong culture of business ecosystem.

  1. What are the key drivers, operating principles, and enablers for manufacturing ecosystems?
  2. What are the emerging business ecosystems for different subsegments?
  3. What will be the role of collaborative clouds?
  4. How will next-generation automation and intelligence influence manufacturing ecosystem processes and successes?

IDC’s Manufacturing Insights research has a strong focus on worldwide manufacturing business ecosystem strategies. Click here to learn more about IDC Manufacturing Insights: Worldwide Manufacturing Business Ecosystems Strategies.