shaping strategy for business ecosystems

on this blog: I found this article. it’s about how certain companies (shapers) can create a succesful (or healthy) business ecosystem by following a shaping strategy.


RB @sparkboxx: Interesting Reads

Following the twitter RT (Re-Tweet) trend, here’s a RP (Re-Post) from @sparkboxx(.com)

I encountered a couple of nice reads while doing literature research for my thesis:

Software is Different (article, download) by Boris Beizer, about software quality and the differences between software quality and physical product quality.
Easy read from page 3 onward. Read this if you ever have to explain why computer systems have bugs and that it’s almost unavoidable to have any. At least skim through the headings and sub headings and read the last 3 pages on “What can we do about it”.
Software Ecosystems (link to amazon) by Messerschmitt and Szyperski
A must read for everybody in the IT industry, developers, manager or customers. The book provides information of different levels of abstraction and difficulty but there’s something in it for everybody!
Software Acquisition: a busines strategy (article, download) by Barbara Farbey and Anthony Finkelstein.
Don’t let the title mislead you, the paper is basically about Software Ecosystems and how to create them. It also indicates some maturity steps.

Maturity Models within Ecosystems

Some weeks back I wrote 2 blogposts about Ecosystems and Maturity models for the (Ruby on) Rails Ecosystem. No scientific content but it might shine a light on future research opportunities:

(I’m having some trouble with making hyperlinks in Safari 4, excuse me for the bluntly pasted URLs)

Initial Post: Rails Maturity Model

Follow up post: Rails Maturity Model: 2 Approaches

The Keystone advantage

Did you guys know that Iansiti and Levien wrote a book about Keystones, dominators etc.?

check it here

buy it here (Amazon) (<10 euros including shipping costs) or here ( (33 euros including shipping costs)

Software Ecosystems Definitions

At present several different definition exist of the term software ecosystems. Kittlaus and Clough [6] define a software ecosystem as an informal network of (legally independent) units that have a positive influence on the economic success of a software product and benefit from it. Bosch defines a SECO as consisting of the set of software solutions that enable, support, and automate the activities and transactions by the actors in the associated social or business ecosystems and the organizations that provide these solutions [1]. Three concepts stand out: (1) actors, organizations and businesses, (2) networks and social or business ecosystems, and (3) software. In our definition we unify the concept of actors, organizations, and businesses into actors. Furthermore, concepts such as networks and social or business ecosystems only obfuscate the definition, such that sub-definition are required. Thirdly, software vendors do not stand alone in these networks because they are surrounded with integrators, service suppliers, etc. To clarify this the concept of a software market is introduced, any one of a variety of different systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby persons trade, and software and services are exchanged [8]. Based on these concepts we define a software ecosystem as follows:

Software ecosystem a set of actors functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them. These relationships are frequently underpinned by a common technological platform or market and operate through the exchange of information, resources and artifacts [5].

[1] J. Bosch. The rise of software ecosystems on the web. In to appear, 2009.
[5] S. Jansen, A. Finkelstein, and S. Brinkkemper. A sense of community: A research agenda for software ecosystems. In 31st International Conference on Software Engineering, New and Emerging Research Track, page to appear, 2009.
[6] H.-B. Kittlaus and P. N. Clough. Software Product Management and Pricing: Key Success Factors for Software Organizations. Springer Publishing Company, Incorporated, 2009.
[8] a. Sullivan and S. M. Sheffrin. Economics: Principles in action. Pearson Prentice Hall, 2003.

Mijn volgende artikel

In healthy software ecosystems, i.e., that exert robustness, productivity, and enable niche creation (Iansiti and Levien, 2004), two roles can be played safely by organizations over a longer period of time. The first role is the role of keystone, i.e., providing a standard or platform technology that provides a fundament for (part of) the ecosystem. The second role is the role of niche player, a player that requires the standard or platform technology provided by the keystone player for creating business value. Other parts have not yet proven successful in the long run. The role of dominator, i.e., an organism that progressively assimilates or eliminates others (keystones, other dominators, and niche players) in an ecosystem, may prove successful for a short period of time, but after the critical mass of the ecosystem has diminished the dominator has to become the sole provider of innovation within the ecosystem, while still providing enough capacity to serve the full customer base of the ecosystem. Several examples have shown that strong dominators either destroy the ecosystem or are regulated by external factors, such that the ecosystem can survive. A second role that is unsuccessful for longer periods of time is the role of a niche player that is mutually dependent on other niche players, with the absence of a keystone. Eventually, the niche player submits to the keystone player or raises another niche player to the level of keystone player by becoming dependent on it. Much like in biological ecosystems, the role of keystone is implied by its name, an ecosystem cannot persist without it.

At present the following questions remain unanswered:
* What defines a keystone player?
* Do open source organizations enable healthier ecosystems?
* What coordination/orchestration techniques exist for keystones? What responses are smart for niche players?
In mijn volgende paper wil ik me richten op deze laatste vraag. Als ik de tweede vraag halverwege ook beantwoordt is dat mooi meegenomen.

En nog zo’n lekker artikel

Deze is interessant voor

Wilco: Een interessante definitie van dominators en keystones. Iha een fetching read.

Ivo: Hier wordt een eerste measure voor ecosystem health gepresenteerd.