Here at Gotransverse, we’ve been buzzing about the power of ecosystems to offer more value for customers and significantly increase growth potential for businesses. But before we go any further, let's stop and clarify what we mean when we talk about ecosystems in the business context. A recent EY defines them clearly and concisely:

“A business ecosystem is a purposeful business arrangement between two or more entities (the members) to create and share in collective value for a common set of customers. Every business ecosystem has participants, and at least one member acts as the orchestrator of the participants. All members in a business ecosystem, whether orchestrators or participants have their brands present in the value propositions."
- Greg Sarafin, “What Busines Ecosystem Means and Why It Matters”

In other words, building an ecosystem (i.e., an online marketplace) gives businesses with disparate but complementary products and services an opportunity to band together to create new and better products and services than any one of them could produce independently.

Last year, the Gotransverse team honed our ecosystem expertise in the TM Program’s Catalyst competition, in which our project, Supercharge 5G Monetization with a B2B2X Marketplace, took the award for Best Ecosystem Design. Knowing that, to offer customers the full benefit of 5G technology, communication services providers must collaborate with other tech companies, devices, and services, our project asked, "How can these diverse companies collaborate to create innovative solutions to challenges plaguing communications services providers?"

The answer: It takes a village—or an ecosystem—and whether a business is in the communications industry or any other, that ecosystem enables them to leverage new and existing assets and capabilities in innovative ways to delight clients, increase loyalty, and generate additional revenue streams.

The Power of Ecosystems to Drive Growth in the Tech Industry

We’re not alone in our excitement over ecosystems, either. In a recent report, Gartner noted that “Business ecosystems are a powerful and compelling way to look at organizations and their environment, yet these critical skill sets are missing from the repertoire of many tech CEOs. To lay the foundation for future growth, CEOs need to harness the power of ecosystems.” Business ecosystems, the report continues, are critical for companies looking to either bolster or disrupt traditional business models.

So, how can CEOs harness this power?

Gartner suggests three steps:

  1. “Unify Business Models and Ecosystem Strategy.” In other words, start by learning about ecosystems, exploring how they might dovetail with your existing business models, augmenting and even transforming the way you currently serve customers. That way, you’re ready to take charge in developing your own ecosystem, rather than standing by and waiting on someone to invite you into theirs. “Digital solution CEOs who do not explore business ecosystems and implement them,” warns Gartner, “will fall into a participatory role and leave the door open for competitors or partners to take the lead and cement the rules for engagement in an ecosystem.”
  1. “Build an Ecosystem Model Iteratively.” Don’t try to set up the ecosystem in all its finished glory overnight. Rather, consider it to be an iterative process in which you establish key business outcomes, model the ecosystem, and refine, test, and refine again until you’ve got it just right.
  1. “Establish Ideal Ecosystem Partner Behaviors.” Just like your company culture and practices are driven by its mission and core values, a successful ecosystem ensures every partner is working toward the same vision. By unifying all partners under one vision, CEOs can ensure everyone is on board with the steps required to move forward and grow.

The Ecosystem Billing Challenges

Gartner’s three strategies are critical, but we’d add one more: create a path to frictionless ecosystem billing.

Savvy tech companies are already leveraging subscription and recurring billing solutions to increase customer satisfaction and raise the revenue ceiling. But when there are more cooks in the kitchen—more providers in the ecosystem—things can get complicated. We wrote last fall about the specific challenges of marketplace billing, and similar questions apply to any business ecosystem. How do you ensure each partner is getting paid accurately and efficiently for the products or services they contribute to the innovative new offerings?

It’s a complicated process — especially for an ecosystem whose partner pool, customer base, and transaction volume are growing quickly. Traditional billing systems and manual calculations that may have gotten the job done in the early days fall apart in the face of growth, leading to errors, lag times in settlements, and ultimately, dissatisfied partners who would rather take their talents elsewhere.

It is sometimes possible to reconfigure or modify outdated systems to handle more complex transactions ecosystems rely on. However, this patchwork is often slow, costly, and short-lived. Rather, savvy CFOs turn to agile billing platforms that are built to meet their ecosystem needs.

The Gotransverse platform is ideally suited for these applications, with ecosystem billing built right into its core framework. Our scalable platform is specifically designed to handle complex pricing, billing, and revenue management, and it supports monetization at speed, empowering our clients to develop new ecosystems to drive revenue and innovation across multiple market segments. An ecosystem is meant to enable partners to provide their products and services without risk, and the billing platform is key in making that happen. The Gotransverse billing engine mediates every transaction, including billing and revenue sharing, handling settlements rapidly and accurately to ensure partners receive their much-needed funds in a timely manner.

To learn more about how Gotransverse drives growth through monetization — for ecosystems and individual clients in a wide range of industries — we invite you to take a virtual tour of our billing platform today. Then, when you're ready, request a demo to learn more.