Today’s enterprise relies on many different technology services, vendors, and partners. These interconnected resources form a digital ecosystem. Allowing that ecosystem to grow out of control can do serious harm to your company. For example, if you purchase new solutions without a complete picture of your existing ecosystem, you could end up paying for redundant technologies. Or, you could be introducing new security vulnerabilities to your enterprise network without realizing it.
A digital ecosystem strategy addresses some of the biggest challenges in managing, monitoring, and securing your technology resources. In this blog, we’ll discuss the benefits of a digital ecosystem strategy, as well as some best practices for getting started.
Creating Value from a Digital Ecosystem Strategy in Your Enterprise
A digital ecosystem strategy is exactly what it sounds like – a strategy for managing your digital ecosystem. You use a variety of tools and methodologies to identify, prioritize, and optimize your technological resources so you can get the most value out of your digital ecosystem. A robust digital ecosystem strategy can help you:
- Keep costs in check – When you don’t have a complete overview of all your enterprise technology resources, you could end up purchasing redundant solutions and paying for features you already have. A digital ecosystem strategy can help you remove unnecessary resources and reduce your operating costs.
- Improve security – Your security teams need to know about every device, application, account, and service that touches your enterprise network so they can account for all vulnerabilities and apply appropriate security policies. A digital ecosystem strategy makes it easier to track, monitor, and secure all your technology resources.
- Reduce complexity – Trying to manage every cloud service, SaaS platform, and software solution on your network without a robust strategy can be very difficult. A digital ecosystem strategy reduces this challenge by centrally tracking and managing all of these technologies, allowing you to continue expanding your ecosystem without creating unnecessary additional complexity.
How to Get Started with a Digital Ecosystem Strategy
To develop an effective digital ecosystem strategy, you should follow these best practices.
1. Create a Digital Ecosystem Map
Your first step is to map out your digital ecosystem. This involves inventorying all the applications, systems, and platforms that are in use within your enterprise. You also need to identify, label, and categorize each of these assets based on which business units use them and own them. Then, you need to track the flow of data through and between each application, system, and platform to identify how data is processed and transferred.
Tip: Need help finding all the pieces of your digital ecosystem? Follow the money! Your accounts payable department can identify all vendors, services, and platforms currently receiving payments from your organization.
2. Evaluate and Prioritize
Once you’ve identified all the components of your digital ecosystem, you should evaluate the effectiveness of each asset and identify anything that needs to be replaced or upgraded. You should also look for redundancies to see if any technologies or solutions can be eliminated to save money. Prioritize all your assets based on how critical they are to your business. Then, establish the order in which tools should be replaced or upgraded. Next, determine how your remaining assets can interact to make more efficient digital ecosystems, for example with APIs or other integrations.
3. Implement Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM)
Third-party risk management, or TPRM, is a methodology for managing the inherent risk involved in working with third-party vendors, partners, and solutions. You can use TPRM to vet the trustworthiness of new and current technology resources and identify security vulnerabilities and other risk factors. Implementing TPRM as part of your digital ecosystem strategy ensures that you can use your assets effectively without sacrificing security.
4. Create a Cultural Shift in Your Enterprise
In a digital ecosystem, many different tools and technologies work together to create more efficient workflows and business practices. For your digital ecosystem strategy to be truly successful, you also need the people within your enterprise to work together efficiently. That means you should shift your corporate culture to prioritize collaboration by eliminating informational silos and implementing tools and policies that support cross-team cooperation.
A digital ecosystem strategy creates value in your enterprise by eliminating redundancies, improving visibility and security, and reducing management complexity. Following best practices for creating a digital ecosystem strategy will help streamline your organization’s journey to digital transformation.