Succeeding in the emerging business ecosystem will depend not solely on who has the latest technology but on the ability of companies and players to collaborate with each other to reach their target market, according to panellists at the “Opportunities in the Emerging Business Ecosystems" session at the MintAsia-Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Singapore.
Companies cannot own anything nor claim to provide everything to the market because there will always be bigger, well-funded players who are out to disrupt the space and offer specific products or services, the panellists said.
Arthur Lang, chief executive officer (CEO) of International at SingTel, said the business ecosystem is emerging in such a way that everyone becomes part of a much bigger thing. For instance, SingTel, he said, cannot provide pizza delivery, but it can partner with another firm that can do that using its platform. “No one really controls it, but everyone is coming together with one common objective, and that is to provide what the customer wants. It’s really about finding out what the customers want and what the customer wants sometimes can be many different things," Lang said.
Brad Loiselle, founder, president and CEO of education technology start-up BetterU, agrees that the emerging business ecosystems require companies to collaborate. “We have to collaborate. You can’t own anything, there must be collaboration," he said.
Loiselle said that cannot be done by just one individual institution; so what BetterU did was to build an ecosystem that brings together education leaders around the world on a platform where they are not competitors to each other but represent their own brands.
“It doesn’t really work without collaboration," he said.
BetterU focuses on providing education around the world, starting with India.
Robert Yap, executive chairman of logistics firm YCH Group, said collaboration and innovation are key to success in the current business space. While he said technology was one of the factors that propelled his company to growth, “innovation is key for survival".
“A lot of people look at tech as innovation. Tech is not innovation...(we need to) look at how to actually apply and use technology as an enabler to the business," he said.