Massimiliano Claps
Max Claps (Research Director, IDC Government Insights)
Anielle Guedes (Senior Research Analyst, IDC’s European Customer Insights & Analysis)
Anielle Guedes (Senior Research Analyst, IDC’s EMEA Cross-Industry Research lead in the Industry Insights Group)

A “digital divide” has emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public and private sector organisations that have invested in digital, platform-enabled business innovation have been able to embrace the next normal characterised by highly competitive markets, elevated customer and citizen expectations, supply chain disruptions, foreign trade uncertainty, environmental sustainability and social impact.

Successful organisations have evolved their industry ecosystems from a static list of partners that occasionally provide supply or support to a diverse, flexible and scalable mix of technology vendors, industry organisations, industry consortia, supply chains, service providers, service and expert networks, and the end customer.

According to IDC’s 2021 Future of Industry Ecosystems Global Survey, including 281 organisations in the region, more than 45% of European enterprises are proactively sharing data, applications and operations both within and outside their industry to realise the value of ecosystems.

5 Trends That European Executives Should Embrace

Organisations from every industry, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, financial services, government, transportation, energy, and construction and engineering, continue to expand and evolve the way they work with industry ecosystems. European public sector organisations and private enterprises that want to get to the next stage of industry ecosystems must consider five key trends in 2022 and beyond:

  1. Open Innovation Hubs for Cross-industry Collaboration Will Proliferate.

    To become more resilient and seize business growth opportunities, the captains of industry are leading collaborative efforts to create innovation hubs, or digital environments, for data and application sharing. A growing number of European companies and public sector entities are now.To realise the value of such a dynamic approach to “ecosystems of ecosystems”, organisations need to be both orchestrator and participant by leveraging the platforms, APIs and common technologies that enable them to pursue both roles efficiently based on a coherent and documented enterprisewide ecosystem business strategy. 30% of European enterprises think they will be both participant and orchestrator, according to IDC’s 2021 Future Enterprise Resilience 2021 Wave 3 Survey.

    The European automotive industry is a perfect example of this proliferation of open collaboration with initiatives such as the Open Manufacturing Platform and Catena-X, which were launched in the past three years.

  2. Cybersecurity and Data Trust Capabilities Will Find Their Sweet Spot in Ecosystems.

    Participation in platforms such as business networks, marketplaces and industry clouds will create a trust issue as companies try to stitch their orchestrator and participant roles across multiple ecosystems. According to IDC’s 2021 Future of Industry Ecosystems Global Survey, the main barriers to participation in industry ecosystems in Europe are IP protection and regulatory compliance concerns, and resistance to sharing data across the ecosystem.For instance, the immutable distributed ledger and smart contract capabilities can create the necessary validation of activity that is central to trust. As such, industry ecosystem initiatives will enable wider adoption of DLT.

    The technology has yet to be fully proven, given that there are few specific use cases. But where there are multiple parties that need a transparent, automated way to trust one another, distributed ledge technology can help alleviate any issues.

  3. Financial and Operational KPIs Will Drive Value Realisation.

    Although sustainability and social impact will be part of the vision for ecosystem collaboration, more mundane KPIs such as revenue growth, new product/service launch, customer engagement and skills enhancement are the top metrics to measure success of ecosystems, according to IDC’s 2021 European Industry Acceleration Survey. Ecosystems are launched for a variety of reasons: to improve supply chain performance, share customer intelligence, and monitor and manage environmental effects.Beyond the initial stages of creating these ecosystems and sharing in proof-of-concept demonstrations, IT and line-of-business executives face pressure to prove value for money in terms of financial and operational KPIs. As ecosystems evolve and become more mature, they need to be in line with business objectives and generate overall digital value.

  4. Governments Will Take an Active Role in Industry Ecosystems.

    National governments have a unique and essential role as users, developers and orchestrators of industry ecosystems as they can provide financing to create ecosystems and ensure trust between entities via standards, regulation, policies and compliance enforcement in areas such as data and IP protections. Nearly 50% of European government organisations are participating in industry ecosystems, according to IDC’s 2021 European Industry Acceleration Survey.Governments can also set the vision and nudge behaviour of ecosystem participants toward a common societal purpose, such as environmental sustainability, economic development and digital sovereignty. GAIA-X is an example of active policymaking of large national governments in creating new ecosystem-centric initiatives. The UK’s Revenue and Customs agency (HMRC) is an active user of digital ecosystem data and applications.

    HMRC engaged the private sector to create an open API that lets bank account holders share their financial data securely and via a trusted government agency to third parties. This makes payments to government simpler and safer for paying taxes, VAT and other fees via an open banking app.

  5. Data Sharing and Data Intelligence Will Drive Ecosystems.

    Organisations in finance, healthcare, manufacturing, government and many other industries are realising the benefit of sharing data and knowledge to improve resilience, efficiency and data monetisation. By sharing data, organisations can realise greater quality and safety of products and customer experiences, proactive servicing, better customer experiences, more efficient supply chain execution, and faster and better product and software innovation. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s Data4Safety (D4S) data collection and analysis program will support the goal of ensuring the highest common level of safety and environmental protection for the European aviation system. Data sharing and data intelligence are so critical to ecosystems that IDC predicts that by 2023, $334 billion of European digital spending (almost equivalent to Danish GDP) will be driven by ecosystem-empowered use cases, where analytics and AI augmented data sharing will improve the cost base and quality of operations and create new business opportunities.


The future of industry ecosystems is open, dynamic and shared, evolving like a biological ecosystem that changes in response to pressure, competition or disruption. Europe — with its strength in automotive, food, industrial equipment and fashion, and its active public sector participation — will chart the global path for ecosystems that deliver digitally enhanced products and supply chain agility. 

To explore this topic in more detail and to hear how ecosystems will impact the technology market in Europe in 2022 and beyond, follow IDC’s Future of Industry Ecosystems.

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