In times of continuous change, companies struggle to keep up. The speed with which incumbents are loosing their market position has never been greater. Many CEOs are looking over their shoulders for the competitor that may undermine their company’s position. Given the harsh competitive environment, they invest in innovation, new technologies and new ways of organising their work. Innovation is a top priority, it directly relates to their corporate strategy.
In fact, strategy has never been more important. Strategy is, in essence, problem solving, and the best approach depends upon the specific problem at hand. Companies therefore need to understand the dynamics of their market and their business environment, they need to be on the ball, cutting edge.
When markets are shifting by new technologies and upstarting competitors, many legacy companies are simply ill-prepared to develop new products and services in the midst of the uncertainty. Changing circumstances drive companies to rethink their product and service offering, to develop new partnerships, innovate their value chains and to engage in a broader ecosystem that will boost their competitive strength.
Map your business ecosystem to build competitive intelligence
Research shows that 89% of multinationals invest in competitive intelligence (CI), so it must be important. Having their own CI department and strategies is a vital part of their corporate strategy. Knowing who their competitors are and monitoring them in a systematic way increases their situational awareness and their capacity to think ahead of the market and move fast when required.
The largest competitive threat may however not come from your legacy competitors. In order to anticipate on novel technologies and new business models, It is important to not just look at direct and indirect competition but to broaden to perspective and to look outside your own industry. Tech Scouting helps to identify future trends and technologies, to find new partners and to inspire your organisation with relevant use cases, future scenarios, and example business models.
Your company is not a single, isolated entity, but a part of a larger whole. By mapping your business environment, you can uncover market trends, enabling relations and partnerships. By connecting the dots within your business ecosystem, you can gain clarity about your own position in your market and your competitive advantages.
Engage in sector specific ecosystems to gain insights in emerging technologies and startups
While innovation is happening faster than ever before, missing out is more expensive than ever. In rapidly changing business environments, companies can grow their market share and be more successful in the long run, when they spot trends and new technologies early, mobilise their workforce and capture opportunities ahead of the market.
Engaging in entrepreneurial ecosystems in your industry enables you to learn about innovation and interact with other companies in your business environment. The knowledge shared within the ecosystem provides you an excellent “barometer” for the speed of technological changes and adoption by consumers in your sector. These insights help you anticipate and develop the right strategy for the most impactful innovations.
This is something that PropTech Lab understood right away. They collect and introduce their members to an ecosystem, therefore creating an enhanced, interconnected community of corporates and innovative PropTech startups, supported by visualizations of trends and actors in the real estate ecosystem.
Shape your competitive environment
One step further, innovative companies bundle forces to (re)shape an industry by influencing the development of a market through coordination with other players. They engage in a diverse ecosystem that distributes risk, supplies complementary capabilities and resources, builds and leverages collective intelligence, and (last but not least) shares a common purpose. Novel, highly fragmented, dynamic industries, disrupted as well as emerging markets are all the ideal playground for ecosystem strategies. The market opportunity is unpredictable regarding size and growth rates. Timing and positioning are key. Stakeholders engage in creating a shared vision, to provide a platform to orchestrate collaboration, and, ultimately, to scale the ecosystem far beyond the capacity of each single organisation. Co-development of the market and industry by multiple players is the name of the game, it requires (repeated) engagement and orchestration around a shared mission.
Stay ahead of your market
Collecting and aggregating market and competitive data are key to identify and understand the dynamics of your market. Many firms develop their view of the market and industry based on easily obtainable data (i.e. demographic information, traditional industry and product classification). A good competitive analysis will go beyond these convenient data points to surface the true dynamics of your market and establish an objective view of your business landscape. For a holistic and forward-looking picture, the analysis should combine metrics like profitability and growth with more qualitative indicators like competitive intensity, economic interconnectedness and sustainability.
The integration of data, tools and platforms are a must have to make sense of the wealth of data businesses own or have access to. For ecosystems to thrive, it is key is to build and leverage collective intelligence and provide a collaborative platform to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.
Since 2016, WCD is on a mission to unlock collective intelligence within an organisation and across the boundaries of interconnected companies. WCD enables these organisations, business ecosystems, as well as the dynamic and co-evolving communities of diverse actors, to create and capture new value through increasingly sophisticated models of both collaboration and competition