Ever since the first app ecosystem was launched over a decade ago, Salesforce’s success with the concept has been a focus of the industry. Everyone has been trying to start their own version of app ecosystems, and as they have found, it’s not nearly as easy as they think. In an article for InformationWeek, Max Mancini shares three areas to focus on to get a successful app ecosystem off the ground:
- Building a foundation of openness and transparency
- Creating economic opportunity for all parties
- Earning trust–and then keeping it
Enriching Your Ecosystem
Transparency is a big step to success when it comes to app ecosystems. However, most companies don’t go all in when it comes to this concept. They’ll give partial access, but not truly embrace openness. Being completely open means giving people the keys to the car to innovate on their own for their businesses, enabling a greater variety of solutions and surprises for customers.
Mancini also points out that the opportunities created by your app ecosystem should be available to everyone, and you should not get too reactionary when competitors start to find a cut of profit in it. Trying to copy other services as they arise muddles your focus, so staying in your lane is key here. The ecosystem should be open to customers and competition both. “Coopetition,” as Mancini calls it, is working with your competition to get the best experience to the customers. He uses the example of allowing iTunes on Windows as an example of two companies, despite being competition to one another, cooperating in a way that can be beneficial in the long run.
The final point that Mancini makes is that earning and keeping trust is a key way to make an app ecosystem work. By consistently demonstrating you are putting the interests of the users first, then your business will continue to flourish because your customers trust you. He calls upon his own previous experience to showcase how this works:
Last year, our team arrived at one such crossroad. When we had to fully integrate a security standard called SAML into our products at the overwhelming demand of enterprise customers, we took great care to bring vendors providing SSO and SAML add-ons into the conversation early. Three of our lead product managers picked up the phone to explain the situation and help guide them through the transition and into emerging, closely-related opportunities.
By staying open and transparent, and bringing these developers into our circle of trust, everyone came out on top…
You can view the original article here: http://www.informationweek.com/mobile/3-keys-to-building-a-successful-app-ecosystem/a/d-id/1329314