Technology Challenges for the Business School Library
Convergence is also the defining characteristic of the modern business world. The term ‘business ecosystem’ emerged some two decades ago (Moore, 1993) and is
now widely used to describe the continuously evolving and interdependent ways in which organizations of all kinds are now linked together (both competitively and also cooperatively) to deliver their services or products, using technology. This contrasts sharply with the former post-war era in which companies sought to achieve market dominance individually in a head-to-head battle within their peer sector. The ecosystem model has proved so compellingly effective that the dominant technology-based companies of the modern era have all used it to build and extend their business strategies. It’s a dynamic paradox: the dominance of the world’s great technology companies relies not just on a global mass user base, but also critically on their interrelationships with the many individual, much smaller firms that create complementary applications and services. Google started with search, but now provides a cloud-based personal information environment driven by its Android devices. Apple’s paradigm-shifting hardware also relies on the iTunes and Apple Store infrastructure. Amazon started with online retailing but now additionally offers corporate-grade cloud storage and computing platforms. Not to be outdone, Microsoft is giving chase, with its Windows 8 operating system extending to smartphones and tablet devices, thus joining up its Azure cloud-based data and applications.