The ecosystem game

A product does not live in a vacuum. Several variables play a role to make a product a lucrative sell and an attractive buy. The important thing is to understand and in some cases build the ecosystem surrounding the product.

For years success of Microsoft Windows has been attributed to the army of Independent Software Vendors and the ecosystem of applications on Windows making it the preferred desktop operating system in the world. The power of ecosystem is evident again when you look at the smartphone industry. Both Apple and Google have been able to create an ecosystem of applications on iOS and Android respectively making them the leaders in the industry.

Ecosystem is not important only in the computing world. It is prevalent in pretty much every industry out there. Take car rental industry as an example. Car rental is lot more than just the cars that are rented to the consumer. It’s the whole ecosystem consisting of elements like insurance of the cars, used car market, roadside support and so on. A consumer while renting a car leverages the entire ecosystem in the process.

The constituents of a product’s ecosystem varies from the social drivers to infrastructure support. It needs a lot of innovative thinking and a certain inclusiveness to bring in many players to be part of the game. It’s something that is in many cases essential for the viability of the product and provides unparalleled competitive advantage and a great deal of stickiness factor leading to customer retention.

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