In a recent webinar, IDC and Fujitsu shared insights on ecosystem business models and the implications and opportunities for partners. As Fujitsu rolls out its own ecosystem initiatives, partners can now start to access enhanced benefits of collaboration and co-creation while working together in new ways.
This is the third of four blogs exploring some of the themes from the webinar. In this blog, we share our thoughts on how service providers (SPs) stand to benefit from ecosystem participation. This builds on the foundational IDC blog explaining how ‘Ecosystem models drive future partnering success’
The importance of ecosystems to service providers continues to grow at a rapid pace. To understand the reason for this, it is first necessary to explore the very definition of ‘service provider’ and how it continues to evolve and encapsulate more previously distinct partner types.
The move to everything-as-a-service means that most partners are or will become service providers of some form. Fujitsu itself has witnessed this with the emergence of different types of service providers: co-locators, cloud, managed, telco-based and not forgetting resellers and VARs shifting to as-a-service models. Fujitsu itself also operates as a service provider.
As the definition of service provider widens, so too do the expectations from customers related to the portfolio of solutions a service provider should deliver. As customers look to consume an increasing and more diverse range of services, they don’t necessarily want the number of service providers they buy from to rise at the same rate. This would lead to increased complexity and inefficiency. It is the desire to navigate away from this that drives us towards the benefits of ecosystem participation for service providers.
A strong ecosystem allows a service provider – at whatever stage of its development – to expand and supplement its core areas of service expertise with additional service propositions in a seamless and cost-efficient way. The external resources and expertise that can be accessed through ecosystem participation enables service providers to focus more fully on customer relationships, understanding precise customer requirements and meeting unique customer needs.
The backdrop to a successful ecosystem model involving service providers is an acceptance that one partner cannot and should not try to do everything. Working together provides a better customer experience, injects relevant expertise into a solution and provides a competitive edge.
Ecosystem initiatives such as Fujitsu’s provide a range of additional benefits by bringing together a range of partners that already have relationships with a similar vendor. This provides a framework of common understanding and a valuable starting point for communication and partner-to-partner (P2P) collaboration.
Participation in a successful ecosystem opens new possibilities for service providers and opportunities to enhance their strategic importance with their core customers. What this means is working back from unique customer needs, tapping the shared expertise that exists within the partner ecosystem and then working together to create a specific solution.
Ecosystem models facilitate this. For service providers, it is like becoming a tailor with the ability to provide customers with a bespoke made-to-measure suit at an off-the-shelf price – yet still using the most skilled individuals to make each part of the suit. A well-run ecosystem allows service providers to create that bespoke offering without building from scratch each time; without it becoming an inefficient process, and without compromising their position as primary customer interface.
The ecosystem model provides a platform for service provider transformation. This is a journey that many partners are navigating as they move from service provider status, towards service integrator and eventually service aggregator, spurred forwards by an unrelenting focus on customer experience and customer success.
Service providers that take full advantage of the opportunities and benefits available through ecosystem participation are in a better position to create differentiated propositions for customers. In a highly competitive service provider landscape, which includes a significant number of large global players, the ability to stand out and communicate a differentiated and tailored value proposition to customers becomes an asset.
The different areas of expertise required to provide relevant customer solutions in technology areas such as Edge, 5G and IoT is accelerating the importance of ecosystem models. In many cases, these solutions are not provided by a single instance of partner-to-partner collaboration and one common vendor.
These solutions frequently require the involvement of several partners, several vendors and several service providers working in unison to shape a proposition that truly delivers on customer requirements. For that level of complex collaboration to succeed, a well-defined and structured ecosystem platform becomes a necessity.
What we are seeing within the service provider landscape is increased fluidity of roles, responsibilities, activities, and go-to-market models. Service providers will increasingly view ecosystems as platforms of significant value that allow them to better serve customer needs and create differentiated propositions. Successful service providers will embrace this new reality and thrive in ecosystems such as Fujitsu’s that enable and encourage their own process of continuous business transformation.
The next blog in the IDC series will explore how digital infrastructure specialists can benefit from ecosystem participation. To learn more about the benefits of ecosystem business models and how Fujitsu partners can participate effectively, access the recent IDC webinar, ‘Collaboration, Co-Creation, Co-Opetition: Ecosystem Implications & Opportunities for Fujitsu Partners'.
“We can only underline the analysis of IDC. Service integrators are an integral part of our widened partner ecosystem”, says Rudi Frickenschmidt, head of ecosystems and part of FUJITSU’s European Channel team. “Service integrators are clear forerunners in creating P2P collaborations, as they had to focus on their area of expertise to differentiate and thrive with the strong entry of the public cloud vendors. We have been able to add value to their business by de-risking their operation and also by creating new revenue streams."
"As reselling channel partners move forcefully into the “X as a service” world, FUJITSU can build upon this experience. Probably the most exciting part are now collaborations connecting different players to utilize faster “artificial intelligence” developments, and here our Ecosystem Platform has played a vital role to quickly expose relevant partner solutions to a wider partner audience. Success vs. failure is then always dependent on building upon a clear business model and setting expectations. Successful use cases are then the trust base to actually dare to take different parties to your customers.”
Visit https://www.fujitsu.com/global/microsite/service-providers/ to learn more about how Fujitsu can make a difference in empowering Service Providers, and jump on board our journey to innovation and cooperation by creating your partner profile on our Ecosystem Platform, https://www.fujitsu.com/ecosystem.
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Margaret Adam is AVP for IDC's European Tech Ecosystems Group encompassing Professional and Managed Services, SMB, Startup and partnering ecosystems.
Based in London, Margaret is responsible for driving IDC’s research, innovation and thought leadership agenda on these topics. Central to this is understanding how broader industry trends impact the technology ecosystem and the relationships that customers have with their technology partners. This includes identifying next-generation services partners and channels, advising on innovative practices and understanding the implications and opportunities that digital transformation presents to the ecosystem.
Stuart Wilson is research director for IDC's European Partnering Ecosystems program.
Based in the UK, Stuart has covered global business-to-business and business-to-consumer channels for 20-plus years in a wide variety of research, editorial and event-based roles. Stuart focuses on the evolution of go-to-market models and the wider impact on partner ecosystems, exploring how current and future trends will impact the vendor, distributor and partner landscape.