Software Ecosystems

Software Ecosystems

Analyzing and Managing Business Networks in the Software Industry

Edited by Slinger Jansen, Sjaak Brinkkemper and Michael Cusumano

This book describes the state-of-the-art of software ecosystems. It constitutes a fundamental step towards an empirically based, nuanced understanding of the implications for management, governance, and control of software ecosystems.

Chapter 5: Managing software ecosystems through partnering

Joey van Angeren, Jaap Kabbedijk, Karl Michael Popp and Slinger Jansen

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, strategic management, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


Software vendors and owners of software platforms function within a network of actors relevant to their business, called a software ecosystem (Burkard et al 2012; Messerschmitt & Szyperski 2003). A software ecosystem is defined as “a set of actors functioning as a unit and interacting with a shared market for software and services, together with the relationships among them” (Jansen et al 2009, p.1). Within such an ecosystem, a large software vendor or platform owner has the role of software ecosystem orchestrator (Jansen et al 2009). Since their software product, platform or even the organization as a whole is the binding factor within the ecosystem, these large software vendors or platform owners are the main parties responsible for managing and expanding the ecosystem. Typical types of actors within a software ecosystem are suppliers that supply software or services to the software vendor, system integrators that implement software products or platforms for the customer and partners (Popp & Meyer 2010). Actors within the ecosystem exchange products, services or assets and possibly receive compensation in return. This continuous exchange makes software ecosystems an important part of the business model of software companies (Popp 2011).

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