In the natural world, an ecosystem is a community of living organisms where the constituent parts interact to support the health of the whole. This serves as a useful mental model when thinking about the emerging paradigm in manufacturing, where individual OEMs are moving away from closed, proprietary systems and software towards embracing open digital ecosystems.
This ecosystem approach, spurred by the development of cloud computing and mainstream adoption of open-source software, is blurring the traditional organisational boundaries, and offering a high degree of operational agility to participants. It’s already disrupted industries such as retail and travel, and is now in the process of disrupting manufacturing.
The transition towards an ecosystem-based model in manufacturing is a logical step; as a data-heavy market with dependencies between multiple stakeholders, an ecosystem offers a means for drawing insight, collaborating, and better serving end-customer needs.