The 3 Cs That Drive an Ecosystem

The 3 Cs That Drive an Ecosystem

March 8, 2022

The fact that Ecosystems are complicated, often amorphous, and lack shared context is a problem. When Ecosystem Leaders in our small community of mostly XaaS companies engage with Ecosystems, we often struggle with shared definitions and scope.

I’ve been thinking about how to solve that problem. We can start with the definition for Ecosystems we created as part of our GoToEcosystem framework. It defines Ecosystems as:

-A dynamic group of interdependent participants

-Orchestrated to innovate around platforms

-Delivering customer-centric, modular, interconnected value

From there, we believe that three forces drive Ecosystem formation. We call these the 3 Cs:

-Commerce – Business activity driving influence, sales, customer value realization, and network effects. This includes the set of commercial terms and program structures that drive ACV, CAC, Retention, and LTV. Commercial terms align to 3 overlapping partner segments or programs: Tech Partners, Channel Partners, and Services Partners.

-Co-Innovation – Platform-supported co-innovation of IP, process, and solution creation of joint or complementary offerings. There are three buckets of co-innovation: No Code, Integration, and Application Development.

-Community – Aligned participant influence and passion. This is centered around the passionate advocates that make up the community. Communities usually congeal as developer advocates, customers advocates or partner advocates.

With this understanding of what drives Ecosystem formation, here are an associated set of transformation imperatives for companies seeking to drive Ecosystem success:

-Transform. Drive a GoToEcosystem transformation agenda that aligns Business Transformation and Ecosystem Orchestration from the Board through the C-Suite and into the Lines of Business (LoBs).

-Lead. Appoint an Ecosystem Chief as its own LOB reporting to the CEO – empowered to co-execute an Ecosystem Platform Strategy, align the organization, drive organizational change management, and orchestrate the Ecosystem.

-Prepare. Prepare for a multi-year, top-3 priority journey leveraging OKRs across the entire company and company departments (LoBs) to serve the Ecosystem.

-Pivot. Ensure that each company LoB—specifically Product, Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, and Ecosystem LoBs—play a major and aligned role in delivering on the key Ecosystem focus areas and the Ecosystem value foundations.

-Commit. Commit to honoring and respecting Ecosystem partner and community expectations with equal value and significance as delivering on customer and employee promises and expectations.

Are Ecosystems more than partners, more than a Route-to-Market? What will be the role of the emerging Ecosystem Chief beyond the Partner or Channel Chief of old?  The three Ecosystem Drivers – Commerce, Community and Co-innovation – explain how companies should pivot to GoToEcosystem to transform their businesses.