Digital Technology
Aug 31, 2017

What a custom partner ecosystem can do for you

August 31, 2017 - People often praise bespoke or custom things because they meet an individual's precise requirements—from a made-to-measure, formal suit to a custom-built computer. Likewise in business, organizations facing unique operational challenges and looking to innovate should consider custom partner ecosystems as opposed to a traditional technology ecosystem.

What's the point of custom partner ecosystems?

Since the 1980s, tech titans like IBM, SAP, and Microsoft have built their own ecosystems—technology sets that come together to meet the needs of a business—completely in-house. They would present problems to the marketplace and crowdsource potential solutions, giving their development teams ideas about what to build next. But as advancements accelerated, it became too overwhelming for a single company's internal resources to keep up. So many began to move away from doing everything themselves to acquiring outside software providers or startups and integrating their architecture into their platforms.

While these acquisitions have enabled more integrated product portfolios, it is up to providers to determine which systems or programs they want to play well with. As a result, customers often become locked into a specific vendor's product stream, preventing them from using new, cutting-edge solutions and stifling their own company's innovation. Microsoft has been one of the front runners in moving away from the old model towards greater flexibility, pivoting from selling everything on Azure to embracing partner solutions.

Realizing value from a custom partner ecosystem

Instead of being locked into a single provider, a custom partner ecosystem allows organizations to create a diverse stack of solutions tailored to their needs and focused on their objectives. With more openness, companies can more readily integrate new technologies into their ecosystem. Innovation comes through the ability to swap systems in and out based on current enterprise budgets and projected outcomes.

Of course, creating a custom partner ecosystem is easier than managing one and optimizing it for the best business results. To illustrate this point, let's take a look at UberEATS for example. The online meal ordering and delivery platform has set the industry standard with its system for users to order, receive and pay for food. Yelp Eat24 offers a similar service, but has different systems in place. Say you wanted to create a custom meal delivery service using a combination of their existing elements: You prefer the ordering system of UberEATS, the payment system in Yelp Eat24, but you want to use Lyft drivers for delivery. While you may choose each due to their convenience or ease-of-use, is this actually the best combination of services that will provide you the best results? It's hard to say without deeper insight—and that's where Genpact Cora, an AI-based platform for digital transformation, shines.

In addition to an open ecosystem, Genpact Cora provides a command and control module that manages the whole digital ecosystem running underneath. This command center allows companies to test hypothetical ecosystems to gauge they're effectiveness. What's more, users can project how a given set of systems will perform and determine the return on investment (ROI) over time. Once the solution is deployed, Genpact Cora also lets users derive actionable insights around performance, including process efficiency and profitability.

Overall, a custom partner ecosystem allows an organization to innovate and differentiate with a combination of systems tailored to meet their needs, without vendor lock-in. But it's critical that users intelligently manage their investment. Only then will they unleash the ecosystem's true value.

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About the author

Damo Vasudevan

Damo Vasudevan

Vice President, Digital

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