Open Technologies: Why businesses should play “the Digital Commons Ecosystem Game”
The next steps of digital transformation will definitively be driven thanks to open technologies hardware or software resource collaboratively developed and managed by a community. The open-source movement is having a major impact on businesses as open technologies are becoming an important strategic tool for digital and non-digital businesses alike. This is how companies are now building their digital infrastructure, from heavyweight technology companies to the latest startups in the market.
Why it’s important
What are the benefits of these open technologies, who has to take part to these communities and what are the challenges for the platform providers?
Open technologies enable companies to work on the same project using the same standards, massively improving efficiency and interoperability of digital infrastructure. Deep within the infrastructure, open source software, open hardware, open data, and open standards are driving change and enabling digital leaders and startups to rapidly enter a new market. Even Digital Goliaths like Facebook and Google have been created using open-source software. They also contributed by giving access to their developments. In 2019 alone, Facebook released 170 open-source projects. The game now is mainly about shaping digital infrastructures to gain advantages.
What our professor has to say:
HEC Lausanne’s Ari-Pekka Hameri, author of the newly published paper “How to Harness Open Technologies for Digital Platform Advantage” with co-authors (Hervé Legenvre and Erkko Autio), believes the impact of open source software and hardware on the global economy has been massive and many companies need to participate in the digital commons ecosystem game.
“For example, some projects unite hundreds of companies pursuing a common goal. This is very efficient and openly accessible. By procuring OSS instead of proprietary software, the companies can reduce the total cost of ownership, avoid vendor lock-in and thus increase their digital autonomy,” Hameri says. This is an important milestone because companies can develop their infrastructure with lower costs, a significant accelerator for them. Some companies have chosen to stay proprietary, ignoring the open-source movement at their peril. But many have started to play the open source because it is the only way to find the best developers.
Professor Hameri’s and his co-authors suggest the most important challenge created by open technology ecosystems is to identify which hardware and software resources are strategically valuable offering a competitive advantage. He predicts digital commons ecosystem competition will grow increasingly important for platform providers as well as companies outside the pure-play digital sectors. Companies need new skills and new decision making capabilities to thrive in this world.
Legenvre, H., Autio, E., & Hameri, A. P. (2022). How to Harness Open Technologies for Digital Platform Advantage. MIS Quarterly Executive, 21(1), 6.