Open Platform 3.0™ Snapshot – Enterprise Ecosystems


Major advances in technology and processes have created a highly disruptive “Digital Economy”, bringing about both business opportunities and business risks, forcing enterprises to innovate or face the consequences. Many enterprises are not well prepared for the rapid pace of digital disruption that requires continual change as a reality of the digital economy. An enterprise must maintain an agile ecosystem that effectively manages product and service lifecycles, and supports a seamless integration between technical capabilities and business opportunities to meet business needs.

Within such an ecosystem, the Open Platform 3.0 standard enables an agile architecture for the development of enterprise business solutions. These solutions take advantage of a wide range of distributed capabilities utilizing modern technology such as cloud computing, social computing, mobile computing, big data analytics, and embedded systems with sensing and/or actuation capabilities. They have appropriate security policies enabling actionable information to be made available to eligible participants (human, non-human, or both).

Enterprise Ecosystem Reference Model

Architecture includes not only the structure of the components of a system and their inter-relationships, but also the principles and guidelines governing their design and evolution over time. The Open Platform 3.0 enterprise ecosystem reference model shows the key artifacts related to the evolution of enterprises and their ecosystems over time, rather than to the arrangement of their components. It is shown in the figure.

The Enterprise Ecosystem Reference Model

Conforming platforms support the ecosystem and enable the enterprise to utilize combination(s) of the emerging technologies.

Key Concepts

The key concepts of the reference model are outlined below.


Enterprises should have structured processes for identifying new opportunities and evaluating emerging technologies that enable them to create innovative business solutions and respond to changes in the ecosystem. They need to deliver and continue to deliver the intended value of these solutions. The processes include assessments of how emerging trends and technology will impact an enterprise's resources, products, services, prioritization, justification for investment decisions, and ability to deliver according to promised performance levels. Other factors affecting this include external events at local and global level, changes in resource availability, disruptive innovation, and changes in business models elsewhere in the ecosystem.

Enterprise Portfolio

Depending on the emerging trends, and their capabilities to realize the opportunities presented by those trends, enterprises apply suitable funding models (e.g., full-scale in-house investment, partnering with the ecosystem participants, etc.) to address gaps in capabilities. Decision-making and governance processes to track opportunities must be applied.

Business Development

Opportunities presented by emerging trends require the right skills, knowledge, and understanding of the risks. Impact assessments help enterprises not only to build and enhance their capabilities, but also to define the right approach for business development. Risk and impact assessments predict where the opportunities are most likely to create unfavorable results, allow enterprises to eliminate barriers to success, and effectively address the gaps in their capabilities.

Enterprise Services

Enterprises should build competence around modular service-based architectures and solutions to enable their agile plug-and-play enterprise ecosystems to tap potential business opportunities effectively, and to mitigate the high risk of investment in emerging technology. The constant evolution of an enterprise’s ecosystem capabilities (especially platform services and practices that simplify the development of business solutions) that can quickly and easily be leveraged, modified, implemented, and tested help enterprises to realize new business opportunities effectively. These proven services dramatically reduce cost and risk, and insulate business solutions from underlying technological complexity.

Enterprise Operations

An enterprise should define an appropriate level of competence for its business and operational ecosystem capabilities. It should have effective mechanisms to mature different sets of skills, tools, and processes, for real-time performance monitoring, and to provide actionable information for a continuous evolution of its capabilities.

Enterprise Ecosystem Metamodel

The Enterprise Ecosystem Metamodel shown in the figure below provides an effective mechanism to manage dependencies, inter-relationships, business interactions between participating entities, and needed support for traceability of enterprise capabilities across the various entities of an enterprise ecosystem.

The Enterprise Ecosystem Metamodel

The Enterprise Ecosystem Metamodel extends the TOGAF Metamodel with enterprise-ecosystem-related enabling concepts. The Metamodel provides a common set of semantics that can be utilized by all participants of an enterprise ecosystem. Depending on the scope of business interactions between the participants, there could be many views of the Metamodel. The important feature of the Metamodel is that it must allow the greatest degree of flexibility in utilizing emerging technologies for innovations in order to achieve a higher level of business agility. It also enables enterprises to evolve their capabilities without compromising the integrity of business information that is being shared. To address evolving business needs, any change in relationships between an enterprise and its ecosystem’s participating entities (providing support to enterprise capabilities) must be easily assessed and effectively managed.

The assessment of business requirements, maturity of dependent capabilities, and impacting factors such as applicable global business rules and regulations will determine an enterprise’s approach to enabling business capabilities of its ecosystem. Such an assessment could provide insights as to whether the enterprise should develop new business capabilities internally or leverage the expertise of new or existing participating entities of its ecosystem. In any case, the approach should ensure that all enabling capabilities of its ecosystem are seamlessly and reliably interoperable from one participating entity to another without adversely impacting the expected Service Level Agreements (SLAs).



Bring together emerging trends and technologies to deliver business value


The enterprise can develop business solutions using the convergence of relevant emerging trends and technologies.


In order to meet business objectives to maximize profit, enterprises should be able to seamlessly bring together emerging technologies into an enterprise ecosystem to develop business solutions.


(1) An enterprise ecosystem supports a built-in holistic approach that is conducive to emerging trends and technologies.

(2) An enterprise ecosystem supports mechanisms that determine what business capabilities are required to deliver business value.

(3) An enterprise ecosystem supports progressive evolution of business solutions by infusing emerging trends and technologies, and have or support mechanisms to measure business value performance of an enterprise capabilities.

(4) An enterprise ecosystem leverages enterprise business capability maturity assessments to effectively evolve business capabilities.



Evolution of enterprise frameworks and practices


New practices and frameworks introduced into the enterprise ecosystem are complementary to and supportive of its existing practices and frameworks.


New practices and frameworks should be easily and seamlessly plugged into an enterprise ecosystem.


(1) The enterprise can tailor new practices and frameworks to achieve an optimal compromise with existing ones.

(2) The enterprise has a mechanism to seamlessly represent any specific need to change existing practices and frameworks.

(3) The enterprise is aware of and minimizes the impact of new architectures and practices on its existing ones.



Integration of new business practices


The enterprise has an effective mechanism to integrate new business innovation guidelines and practices into its ecosystem.


This is needed for a pragmatic development of enterprise capabilities for timely seize of business opportunities.


(1) The enterprise can utilize assessment mechanisms to obtain information to help it evolve existing processes, roles, responsibilities, and architectural skills for its ecosystem.

(2) The enterprise has an effective transformation process to evolve its ecosystem and minimize business, technical, and operational constraints.



Common platform


The enterprise has common, foundational, and extensible capabilities to consistently develop and evolve business solutions.


Common and extensible services maximize reusability and minimize duplication. A common foundation enables uniform application of concepts and practices and avoids ambiguities. Core and foundational capabilities are needed to facilitate and support effective communications within the enterprise ecosystem.


(1) The common foundation has (but is not limited to) capabilities for security, scalability, reliability, and supportability.

(2) Where applicable, existing capabilities should be used or evolved.