Business is never an isolated event. There are always connections to be made either to enhance the process or to justify the process—or, ideally, to do both. But in an interconnected world, the idea of strategic partnerships is taking on a new look: business ecosystems. And, in this brave, new world, vendors and partnerships can be leveraged more effectively than ever before.
The business ecosystem starts inside
Maybe you’re one of those businesses that runs smoothly all the time, that has perfect communication between departments, and that can see problems before they come. Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? However, it’s more likely your business is a series of silos trying to aim for a common goal. And these silos are often stepping on other departments' toes without even realizing it.
In an ecosystem environment, on the other hand, the awareness of interconnectedness drives business decisions. Meaning, your procurement department communicates with the ITAM group about redeployment or refurbished devices, and the finance department sees how data security is affected by taking the cheap route with e-waste recycling.
Now, this all sounds like it revolves around ITAD, because, well, it does. The way technology has woven itself in and around every factor of business means there really isn’t a more unifying factor of business.
Think about it: the way you handle your IT assets affects and is affected by finance (obviously), procurement to source upgrades, Data Security to protect the data, Asset Management for tracking all the pieces, the environmental team because it’s e-waste, and even your company’s philanthropic motivations because of what a powerful factor donating technology can have on organizations. IT makes your business happen.
Why ecosystems matter
This is not intuitive. Otherwise, your business would be like the first example I gave, that of a perfectly unified business. The ecosystem is a symbiotic relationship between related and unrelated parties—even outside parties. But it’s organic, so it needs tending.
The unrelated nature of ecosystems means that you can extend your business ecosystem out past the walls of your company through vendor relationships.
Connecting with businesses who bring sustainability to the table, for instance, can help increase your own business’s ESG ratings by proxy—especially when the services your business needs are sustainable. With these kinds of secondary motivations guiding your business relationships, you might find your company engaging in surprising new relationships.
Ecosystems are a modern reality. The choice is whether to actively manage your own ecosystems for optimized impact. Companies can choose to ignore the ecosystems that are developing around them, but if you recognize the system, then you can manage it—making the real question whether or not you incorporate these ecosystems into your overall business plan.
We’re still talking about sustainability, right?
The truth is that ecosystems in business mimic the natural world in how they symbiotically operate with connected groups. And, if you’ve ever seen a nature program, you can see just how sustainable nature can be.
From a commerce side of things, this is all about conscious capitalism; how do you cooperate with your competition? Or with governance organizations? Being able to group-think within your own company—like with the seven stakeholders associated with ITAD—you’ll be in a position to see just how vital to your success your vendors, your partners, and even your competition is to your business. And making a plan to tap into that will make your entire business more sustainable.