BS for SMEs

In a new book 'The Keystone Advantage: What the New Dynamics of B. Ecosystems Mean for S., Innovation, and Sustainability' - Marco Iansiti and Roy Levien argue niche players should think of their B. environment as a series of ecosystems.

These ecosystems feature "keystone" companies such as Microsoft and WalMart, providing for the health of all who do B. with them.

Iansiti and Levien recommend small companies in such ecosystems should follow a specialization BS by taking explicit advantage of the opportunities provided by the ecosystem, while avoiding the traps that challenge firms in such environments.

Amongst the many tips the writers have for small companies in these ecosystems around leaders such as Microsoft or Walmart are:

  • Specialize in unique capabilities.
  • Leverage other capabilities from keystones
  • Sustain innovation
  • Tight coupling: Manage risk and dependencies
  • Loose coupling: Embrace mobility and flexibility
  • Niche leverage: Power over keystones
The HBS article and book are recommended readings for 'small fish in big ponds' considering a niche specialization BS in an ecosystem dominated by a big fish.

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