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Powered by the platform economy that emerged over the past five years, industry business models are transforming from linear-based value chains to integrated ecosystems by leveraging shared data and insights, applications, and operations and expertise, according to a new IDC report.

The report, which presents results from IDC’s Future Enterprise Resiliency and Spending (FERS) Survey, says that in future industry ecosystems ‘organizations must continue to recognize and react to disruptive trends by forming – or strengthening – partnerships that extend beyond their respective industries to generate value, build resiliency, foster innovation, and anticipate threats and opportunities’.

Businesses that invest in their ecosystems – treating them as value-enabling building blocks – will be better able to adjust to market changes and identify competitive opportunities.

Survey results found that ‘future of industry ecosystems technology investments’ are still early stage, with cyber security upgrades continuing to be the primary IT enabler, as organizations extend their ecosystems inside and outside their industries and move to shared data, applications, and operations business models. Investments in customer data management and systems integration followed closely behind.

Lagging far behind in the survey results were investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). In North America, only 13 percent of respondents identified AI/ML as an investment priority; survey results in Asia Pacific (15 percent) and EMEA (19 percent) were similar.

Investments in blockchain and edge-based cloud technologies were also relatively low priorities across all regions.

"We are still in a version 1.0 phase of IT investment for the future of industry ecosystems," said Jeffrey Hojlo, research vice president, Future of Industry Ecosystems & Product Innovation Strategies. "As digital transformation initiatives mature to include a varied set of external partners and expertise, organizations will expand investment beyond cyber security to address requirements for innovation, data monetization, and sustainability through cloud-based applications, analytics, customer data management, and technologies."

On February 8, IDC will host a Future of Industry Ecosystems webinar: more details here.

More details about the Future of Industry Ecosystems.

What is a business ecosystem?

According to Investopedia a business ecosystem is the network of organizations—including suppliers, distributors, customers, competitors, government agencies, and so on—involved in the delivery of a specific product or service through both competition and cooperation. The idea is that each entity in the ecosystem affects and is affected by the others, creating a constantly evolving relationship in which each entity must be flexible and adaptable in order to survive as in a biological ecosystem.

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