Digital ecosystems

What is a digital ecosystem? | Source

Ever been to a coworking space? These are shared environments with a variety of amenities where many different people are at work on distinct tasks, yet have the ability to network, interact, exchange ideas and collaborate for the greater good of all. The utilitarian use of the space saves everyone money and effort, while enabling “coworkers” to benefit off each other in ways they couldn’t before. The sum is greater than the parts, in other words.

A digital ecosystem is a similar concept, but utilizes computerized space and tools rather than physical. It can extend to teams across organizations, unite unrelated companies, and serve as a bridge between brands and their customers. By condensing processes and data into these smart, responsive environments, we can not only advance certain industries, but entire aspects of life. This revolution may be starting in the workplace, but will soon make homes, cities and routine tasks more efficient by leaps and bounds.

There are several categories of platforms or cloud services that can, together, comprise a given digital ecosystem. The mixture depends on the needs of the varied departments, partner organizations and people making use of it. Amazon and Google have been at it for years now with their outsized offerings that seamlessly integrate to form a greater whole: AWS and Google Cloud, respectively. Following their lead, some of the biggest companies in the world are rolling out fully formed digital ecosystems to modernize and centralize consumer- and business-related clusters of tasks. Others are rolling out software updates that help their existing tools synergize with neighboring platforms in a custom ecosystem.

Today, the ceiling of possibilities is rising exponentially with technologies like containers, machine learning as a service and serverless computing entering the fold. Each new digital ecosystem is a unique animal, like a Mr. Potato Head of carefully selected parts that serve a purpose both on their own and together. They allow businesses to move faster, maximize productivity, and minimize on-premises investments and liabilities. The inherent benefits multiply with every partner organization sharing applications, information and bandwidth through mutual use of the ecosystem.

A 2017 study revealed that 79 percent of top-performing modern organizations participate in a digital ecosystem, while less than half of “average performer” companies have made the leap. This could be due to a combination of factors: budget, resistance to change or simply being ill-informed. As with any tech trend, the budget factor will diminish as vendors vie for mass adoption and bring down costs. Brands will have to deal with the other two on their own volition. Hint: If your tech stack already works together in some fashion, you’re on your way.

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Over the past decade, public and private sources have dedicated impressive amounts of energy and resources to digital agriculture in developing countries. If only the impact on the lives and livelihoods of the more than 500 million smallholder farmers around the world were as large.

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Where do we start looking for ways to develop more rural service delivery points? Historically, the agriculture, finance and telecom sectors in developing countries have worked in silos as they have served different types of clients. Even when their interests in serving rural areas begin to overlap, they retain a limited understanding of the business models in each other’s industries. As a result, they have likely missed collaboration opportunities worth exploring to create new rural service delivery models.

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Spatial precision has improved from one soil sample per 2½ acres to below-inch pixel size from drone images. But farmers still only have a very small number of temporal observations in the year – a yield map and maybe a few images. They track the weather but don’t track the effects of the weather during germination, emergence, and tasseling since they may not have the tools.

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From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital agriculture tools have enabled smallholder farmers to continue receiving advisory, acquire much-needed financing, receive inputs for their farms and identify new markets for their products. The GSMA AgriTech programme conducted primary research and a thorough review of existing data and literature to understand which digital agriculture use cases have seen increased uptake during the pandemic. This report provides supply-side actors, such as agritech companies and mobile network operators (MNOs), with insights into the adoption of digital agriculture and how it can be accelerated in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What does the UN Global Compact say about that?

Digital agriculture is the use of new and advanced technologies, integrated into one system, to enable farmers and other stakeholders within the agriculture value chain to improve food production.

Most of today’s farmers make decisions such as how much fertiliser to apply based on a combination of rough measurements, experience and recommendations. Once a course of action is decided, it is implemented but the results are normally not seen until harvest time. Read online

What kind of ecosystem can you choose for your business?

Let's see some of them in action. We'll cover only Google and Microsoft for simplicity.

Still, what you should keep in mind is that it is possible to also set up hybrid ecosystems that might be more fit for your own business needs.

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