When software is eating the world, leaders of almost every industry need to have an understanding of digital ecosystems. In the tech world, the battle between ecosystems has been going on for a while, with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google as the most notable combattants the last couple of years. While Microsoft is falling behind, Facebook is becoming a notable challenger, and perhaps one of the most powerful digital ecosystems there is.
While facebook is being accused of not being cool anymore, it is in reality evolving from a social network to a digital ecosystem and and something similar to an operating system for your digital identity. Facebook has probably realized this a long time ago and allows a fragmentation of the front-end by separating Facebook chat as a stand-alone application and leaving both Instagram and Whatsapp as separate applications.
A digital ecosystems horizontal integration should also include both customers, partners and third-party services. Facebook caters to brands and agencies that wish to take advantage of Facebook’s vast user penetration though Atlas and Pages Manager.
At the same time Facebook allows third-party developers to create apps and services through Facebook App Center, Open Graph and Parse. Allowing co-creation and open innovation, while ensuring data collection through Facebook Connect.
One of the questions that remains is how will Oculus Rift, Facebook’s first physical component in their ecosystem fit?
The key to succeeding with a digital ecosystem is to create stickiness through relevance and usefulness. Facebook is not going out of fashion. The ecosystem is evolving, and the ‘old’ social networking site we all know is becoming the infrastructure of Facebook’s digital ecosystem. At the same time Facebook in continually working to launch new relevant services. If done right, Facebook has the potential to render phone numbers, email addresses and bank account numbers obsolete in my opinion.
What makes Facebook one of the most potent digital ecosystems is that it is based on managing the digital identity of every user in its user base.