Taking a Pulse on Digital Ecosystems

As 2020 has progressed, we’ve seen a collective shift towards dependence on technology regardless of industry. Given our interest (read: obsession) with digital ecosystems, we set out to take a pulse on how digital ecosystems are impacting a company’s success. The insights presented in this article were drawn directly from the responses of digital ecosystem leaders from a variety of backgrounds and fields.

Our strategy? We asked straightforward questions about their infrastructure, participants, management processes, success measurements, automation, and self-service capabilities.

Our goal? The insights presented in this article will serve as a benchmark and as a helpful resource for you to confidently build, manage, or scale an existing or future digital ecosystem.


Before we dive into the responses and related insights, let’s first take a look at our contributors to better understand their perspectives. In the bar chart below, you can learn more about their roles and responsibilities. These leaders represent companies in the fields displayed to the right.


The participants digital ecosystems are in the current states:


The bones behind a successful ecosystem need to be well-established to ensure scalability as the ecosystem grows. As we will address later, 44% of participants don’t have a complete team to support existing operations, nonetheless future expansion. Given that reality, reporting companies found value in outsourcing most or some elements of infrastructure.

By outsourcing some of these elements, companies can focus on the cost-effectiveness of scaling the infrastructure, which was important at varying degrees to 100% of participants.

Participants & Lifecycle Management

Lifecycle management is a fundamental component to ensuring the success of any digital ecosystem. We are incredibly passionate about this piece at Constellant, going so far as to develop and entire offering around it – you can learn more about that here.

The data from this study shows that 78% of participating companies have digital ecosystems that require different levels of access for their participants. In short, that means catering the lifecycles to different types of users.

Unfortunately, 44% of companies don’t have tools or in-house team in place to provide end-to-end support. Without comprehensive lifecycle management, digital ecosystem participants are more likely to drop off to engage elsewhere.

Success Measurements

With any initiative, collecting quantitative data is imperative to measuring success and validating spend. Based on this study, it was clear that leaders agree, with 78% having implemented data collection processes leveraging a variety of sources.

What do they want to know about their digital ecosystems? They want to know about how they are increasing revenue and innovation, decreasing the total cost of ownership and time-to-market, and the overall return on investment:

Automation & Self-Service

Though lifecycle management and scalability could be improved across the board, there are two capabilities that seem to have taken the backburner for many of these companies: workflow automation and self-service processes. By implementing both of these capabilities, the requirement for additional resources dedicated to lifecycle management decreases.

Only 35% have implemented automation for most processes and only 22% are allowing participants to do most things for themselves. All of the other work needs to be touched by the internal support team, which especially for teams with one experienced leader, this puts a halt to expansion, especially at a rapid pace.

Parting Thoughts

The data indicates that across the board digital ecosystems are encountering growing pains, especially as our world places an increased dependence on technology. Though it may seem overwhelming to piece together the right support for infrastructure, lifecycle management, reporting, and automation, it doesn’t have to be.

Here at Constellant, we specialize in providing the software and the services to help companies effectively build, manage, and scale their ecosystems. If the insights of this article resonated with you, we’d love to hear more. Contact us today to give us your feedback – we’d love to hear more about where you and your digital ecosystem sits in the mix.