Ecosystems for SME’s with Big Service Idea’s – 3rd Aston Servitization Conference

by NIck Frank on May 21, 2015

AstonIn todays connected world, we think less about products and more about solutions and outcomes. Relationship, network and ecosystems are increasingly replacing traditional transaction and supplier thinking. SME’s who see the opportunity to develop the Intermediate and Advanced services  must integrate their value proposition more deeply into their customer’s processes. This often means developing new capabilities, technologies and relationships, which can be a daunting prospect for a small and focussed business.

One such SME, MAC Solutions  has decided to embark on such a path. Their ambition was to develop solutions aimed at supporting SME businesess turn data-to-intelligence-to-profit. Their goal was to provide Asset manufacturers and Asset User’s with ‘off the shelf’ and ‘compatible tools’, that allows the creation of remote monitoring solutions infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of developing it themselves.

Their challenge has been to go beyond their core competency of being a reseller of the leading supplier of industrial routers for equipment. It has meant the integration of a number of new technologies to create an end-to-end solution. They have had to work with a number of new stakeholders to combine their knowledge into an integrated system, which is flexible enough to be applied in different use cases.

To help them develop the concept to a successful implementation, Growth Stages created an Ecosystem Development Model. This model has been very useful in breaking down the complexity of ecosystem development into smaller sub-components that smaller business can follow for themselves. Similar to breaking an elephant into smaller bite size chunks.  Within the model there are 4 key activities:

  1. Analysis
  2. Building Blocks
  3. Execution
  4. Resilience

We wrote up our experiences and presented them at the 3rd Spring Servitization conference held at Aston Business School on the 19th May.

We found that whist the Ecosystem Development Model has proved to be a valuable framework, not all the elements have been used at the time of the first customer pilot. The majority of the analysis has been done in the upfront market and business research phase. However at the mid and back end of business planning and execution, there was much less reliance on formal analysis, and much more on intuition, market experience and practical testing. The experience highlights the importance of incorporating piloting into the Service Design process.
To download the paper and presentation use these links:

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