The top two business priorities for CIOs of midsize enterprises (MSEs) in 2018 are growth and digital transformation. However, 57 per cent of MSEs are not yet delivering digital initiatives, according to findings from Gartner Inc.'s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey.
"Digitalisation has the benefit of expanding MSEs' market horizons — a critical success factor for this size of organisation," said Luis Anavitarte, research vice president at Gartner. "As part of an overarching digital business technology platform, MSEs should build an ecosystem platform to strengthen their competitiveness and enable sustainable business growth."
Digital business is supported by technology platforms in five areas — the ecosystem, customer experience, data and analytics, information system and Internet of Things (IoT). "As vital as these platforms are, it's important to recognise that they can be built incrementally. By focusing on the ecosystem platform, you can build the digital business technology platforms over time as your digital business expands — and may even find that they are not all needed," said Mr Anavitarte.
As a first step, MSEs should align the organisation's strategic thinking to the platform concept through an internal digital platform, because the platform shapes the organisation's reasoning around the concept of platforms. It will help employees to share best practices across business units, leverage competencies including operational and strategic innovation, achieve rapid prototyping, bring new business capabilities to market more quickly, and coordinate the business ecosystem.
Plan and execute on the ecosystem platform
An ecosystem platform is a collaborative architecture that enables internal and/or external business ecosystem partners to work together in new ways. With effective resource management, planning and executing on an ecosystem platform at the scale of the organisation will be an effective step for MSEs in their digital transformation and business growth efforts. "The ecosystem platform offers MSEs a swift entrance into digital and digital deliveries, with the potential for short-term positive impact on the business because it innovates, creates new business models, and sparks business moments," said Mr Anavitarte.
APIs will play a critical role in the ecosystem platform evolution
An ecosystem platform will support the creation of and connection to external ecosystems, marketplaces and communities, through application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs connect people, businesses and things, which enables market access by making MSE systems available. In essence, APIs make digital business — and digital society as a whole — work. They enable new digital products and business models for services, and create new business channels.