Creating ecosystems in security
In recent years we have seen a multitude of security solutions that claim to be ‘ecosystems’. But what does it take for such an ecosystem to make it in the marketplace? We turned to the experts to find out.
Two decades ago, when American academic James F. Moore pioneered the new age corporate model he called Business Ecosystems, his cutting-edge strategy was a concept for the future. That future is now.
But the implementation of Business Ecosystems has been a gradual evolution, not a revolution, throughout the international business world. The security industry, in particular, has been slow to change, according to David Bunzel, executive director of the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), which negotiates standards for the worldwide development of security technology. Bunzel is also the founder and managing director of his own California company, Santa Clara Consulting Group, which tracks market information on technology markets, including in the security field. “Security has been very slow to accept the change,” Bunzel says. “They’re way behind the curve.”
Be the change
This is true despite the initial impact of Moore’s 1993 Harvard Business Review article, Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition, and his subsequent book on the subject, The Death of Competition: Leadership and Strategy in the Age of Business Ecosystems. “People do not naturally embrace change,” says Phil Aronson, CEO of Aronson Security Group, which is based in the state of Washington. Aronson is also a leader in efforts to create a viable Business Ecosystem in the security industry, especially through open conferences he dubbed The Great Conversation in Security.
“I no longer wanted to sit at a table with other executives moaning about the need for change in our industry. I wanted to ‘be’ that change.”
The initiatives needed to effectively implement a Business Ecosystem in any industry, including security, require a proactive and not a reactive response, according to Ron Worman. He is CEO of The Sage Group, a business consulting company based in California. Among Worman’s clients is Aronson and they have worked closely for 12 years. Consequently, Worman is also involved in The Great Conversation conferences.
“Leading change is different than reacting to change,” Worman says. “Leading change requires a culture that embraces it and an intentional and practiced process for introducing it. But the first step is to understand
why change can be your best friend and how to foster it and grow it. The reward: Leading, harnessing and advancing change, rather than reacting to it, allows you to attract better clients, better revenue, better profits and better employees.”
What exactly is a ‘business ecosystem’?
But what exactly is a Business Ecosystem? Based on James F. Moore’s model from the 1990s, it is “an economic community supported by a foundation of interacting organizations and individuals — the organisms of the business world.” The members of the ecosystem include competing companies, producers, suppliers and even the end customers, all with a shared vision.
The term ‘ecosystem’ is a powerful descriptor for a network of interacting organisms and their environment.
Worman refines and updates the definition for today’s business world: “The term ‘ecosystem’ is a powerful descriptor for a network of interacting organisms and their environment. In business, those organisms are companies and their environment is a marketplace. It is incredibly powerful to model the baseline behavior of an ecosystem to determine its function state. That is, its heath and value. From this baseline, strategies can be formed and modelled. Metrics can be established.”
For all three business strategy experts — David Bunzel, Phil Aronson and Ron Worman — the continuing evolution of healthy and dynamic Business Ecosystems is critical to how well any industry, including security, will prosper in the future.
We will continue discussing Ecosystems in a sequel article which will be published on the Future Lab within soon.
Keep your eyes open.
By Bruce Kirkland