The Power of Organizational Ecosystems

"To go further, faster, we had to embrace and nurture a digital ecosystem," says Strategy chief Mike Rose

Across the world, we are witnessing historical but turbulent shifts in proven power structures.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought immense, wide-spread changes across the world. Political systems are decentralizing and localizing, altering with the need to think globally but act locally in a time of growing national identities and isolationist policies. Corporate structures, long established and previously unshakeable, are rapidly dissolving, faced by threats of nationalization, competing regulatory expectations and heightened customers expectations that increase uncertainty and constrain resources. Regulatory bodies are evolving, demanding enhanced levels of service from operators and owners whilst embracing high risk innovative technologies and digitization.


So what will all of these mean for the modern organization?

At the Ground Level

In the world of politics, the pandemic has forced government systems everywhere to decentralize their decision-making capacities and transfer the lead to its local units who have far better understanding of each individual ground-level situation.

 

For our customers this means that they need to understand and trade off decisions regarding interconnected systems for greater societal good. If they have not yet already, they need to look at deploying technology to engage with stakeholders who are now more informed, connected, and—ultimately—demanding than ever. Offering transparent decision making to all is now the bare minimum standard, with every step and action under microscopic attention.

 

Corporations are likewise undergoing drastic metamorphosis. Growing global political divide is affecting company culture, business partnerships, and stakeholder support.

 

For organizations to not only survive this adversity but emerge successful and thriving, they need to do so by developing a deeper understanding of whole life cost of ownership and use this to drive change, and creating more effective, future-proof plans. Enterprises intending to grow post-pandemic will have to integrate cross-functional decision making across the business, prioritizing cost efficiency in an increasingly competitive and resource constrained world.

 

Finally, regulatory structures will need to contend with disrupted and fragmented value chains brought about by investments in data acquisition, technology, and the potential for automation. Rigid, old systems are collapsing in favor newer and agile ways of working, with innovative practices and revolutionary techs already eroding corporate memory, even as it enhances and creates new connections and air gaps.

 

To address this, companies can harness connected data to understand and manage complex interactions in interconnected systems, and to maintain and enhance customer service whilst in turn improving resilience and risk management at every level in an organization.



Generating what’s next…

When we created Arcadis Gen, it was the desire to make a meaningful contribution in response to these observations that drove our thinking. We understood that these changes were increasing the complexity of choices that our customers had to make, as well as the importance of making the right choices and the capacity to be agile in how and where those choices were made. We understood from the beginning that, in order to make a difference, collaboration needed to be hard-wired into our thinking and culture.

 

To go further, faster, we had to embrace and nurture a digital ecosystem.

 

For us, this was a very conscious decision to allow our business and people to focus on the activities, assets, and industries wherein we have specific, deep specializations. In recognizing that by connecting and collaborating with other specialists, our solutions become more powerful, we can move faster and generate scale at an ever-increasing rate. We set out to develop our ecosystem around a set of clear principles:

 

  • Ecosystems by default. We look to partner first in realizing new opportunity, realizing the potency and potential of others.

  • Systems work best when they are in balance. Our dynamic relationships create value for all involved—with priority given to the customer outcome.

  • Common culture. We work with people that motivate and inspire us and in return aim to give energy and momentum to others.

  • Differentiated disruption. We are driven to be different; combining diverse capabilities to deliver unique solutions to customers.

An example of these principles in action is our Business Partner relationship with IBM. The collaboration creates a powerful combined value proposition. Our Industry solutions differentiates against the competition. The pre-configured cloud solution, unlocks the value of data to improve reliability, optimize maintenance costs, increase resilience and sustainability, and deliver faster return on investment.

 

The partnership has already attracted organizations such as Transport for London who recently appointed us to introduce their asset and safety management solution, built on IBM Maximo, for all nine London Underground lines and London Tramlink. We will empower them to manage increasing passenger numbers as a result of a rapidly growing population. Whilst ensuing these services are reliable and resilient.

 

Our strength is the richness of asset data and understanding. We appreciate that there is an abundance of data, being created at an exponentially rate. The use of a common data environment provides the platform for the data that we generate and the data created by others to be connected and flow seamlessly, as its utilized and consumed by customers and our ecosystem partners it reveals new insight, not previously possible, helping to make better decisions in tackling the challenges we face.

 

The ecosystem is strengthened by diversity. One of the most exciting things I’m working on at the moment is collaborating with Downtown.ai and Cobalt Water. Their deeply specialized knowledge, entrepreneurial drive, use of artificial intelligence and harnessing of data are great examples of the potential that can be realized when combining different data perspectives. Downtown.ai are mapping and analyzing human movement in cities, across all modes of transportation, to help cities see if COVID-19 lockdowns are working effectively and understand the next steps in their continually evolving strategy. Whilst Cobalt Water are utilizing machine learning to identify operational control regimes which optimize nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment facilities. Drastically improving sustainability and reducing the cost of achieving aggressive net zero greenhouse gas targets.

Conclusion

Co-creation, collaboration and partnership is central to everything that we do at Arcadis Gen, together we have untold potential. If the you recognize the opportunities and challenges that I’ve described and see potential to connect your capabilities with ours please reach out on LinkedIn or through our website, arcadisgen.com.

Author

Image of Mike Rose

Mike Rose

Strategy

Shaping our future, Mike is building a global network of partnerships and alliances to provide customers with technology products and solutions which enable them to use data to make better decisions, improving the outcomes they deliver to their customers.

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