What is the “special sauce” that separates a successful business from a struggling one? In the past, most experts would have agreed it was some combination of visionary leadership, informed decision-making and an engaging employee culture. All these things are obviously still important, but in today’s interconnected world, we can no longer judge businesses based solely on what’s happening inside their own four walls. Instead of asking how good a particular company is, it may be better to ask how good its partnerships are.
Thriving in today’s business landscape requires specialized digital infrastructure, services, applications and data. When businesses can find the right partners and connect with them in the right places, they can get the digital capabilities they need without having to build those capabilities themselves. This frees them up to specialize in their core business capabilities, while leaving everything else to their partners and service providers.
Any time service providers and industry partners connect to help each other pursue their respective business goals, they form what’s known as a digital ecosystem. Today, many types of digital ecosystems exist across regions and industry verticals, but they all have one thing in common: They exist to drive greater business value for all involved.
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Ecosystems enable digital transformation strategies
The growing importance of ecosystems in the digital age is easy to see from the sheer amount of data partners are consistently exchanging with one another. Equinix published the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023 to help business leaders explore how and where digital ecosystem growth is accelerating. To do this, the GXI uses a metric called interconnection bandwidth, which measures the capacity dedicated to exchanging traffic between ecosystem partners inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers. The GXI forecasts that interconnection bandwidth will increase at a five-year CAGR of 40% globally.
Examples of how digital ecosystems can drive greater business value for participants include:
- Assembling new platforms
- Enabling new business models
- Supporting collaboration
- Reaching (or creating) new markets
As the world’s digital infrastructure company™, Equinix is proud to provide the vendor-neutral platform that helps our customers find and interconnect with the right partners in the right places. With our global footprint of Equinix IBX® data centers and portfolio of digital services, we make it easier for service providers and enterprises to capture the most value possible from their ecosystem partnerships. Alongside our own partners, we’ve also invested intentionally to create solutions that help our end users capture the full value of these digital ecosystems.
Assembling new platforms
By bringing together the building blocks of digital infrastructure, businesses can create the agile, distributed IT architecture they need to thrive. They can use this architecture as a foundation to get closer to end users, extract insights from their business data and support the latest digital applications. The pieces that make up the platform—including multicloud services, edge compute and storage infrastructure, and networking functions—are all delivered as a service. Moving from physical infrastructure to an Everything as a Service (XaaS) model helps businesses shift from CAPEX to OPEX, making more efficient use of their available resources.
Equinix has partnered with HPE GreenLake to help our joint customers scale out SAP systems in a hybrid multicloud environment. These customers can deploy SAP S/4HANA in proximity to cloud providers, ensuring low-latency access to integrated SAP applications and SAP’s own ecosystem partners. The solution is available as a fully managed service with a flexible consumption model that scales up or down based on the changing needs of the business. The end result is a highly available, resilient, flexible, agile and cost-effective way to run SAP HANA.
Enabling new business models
Ecosystem partners can connect with one another to exchange business services. This creates a new kind of digital supply chain, where each partner contributes the business functions they specialize in. All ecosystem participants benefit from this arrangement because they’re able to build a complete experience for end users without having to worry about business functions they have no experience in.
One example is modern gaming ecosystems. At the heart of the ecosystem sits the company that builds the game itself, but this company doesn’t work alone. Players can communicate in the game using VoIP services provided by telco companies. The gaming company may also partner with payment providers to empower new in-game monetization opportunities. Finally, cloud providers can help expand availability of games to more places and a wider range of devices.
Through the power of ecosystems, the gaming company is able to create a holistic, optimized experience for its players, all while freeing up more time to focus on the thing it does best: building the best game possible with the best performance possible.
Gaming companies can leverage the Equinix partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for gamers worldwide. AWS Direct Connect and AWS Outposts on Platform Equinix help companies get the infrastructure and services they need on-premises in proximity to population centers where many players live. Rather than routing traffic over the public internet—with all its performance, reliability and security concerns—gaming companies can also take advantage of direct, private interconnection on Equinix Fabric®. Taken together, these capabilities ensure the kind of low-latency, zero-lag experience gamers demand.
Gaming ecosystem on Platform Equinix, with connections to AWS services
Data is the fuel that powers new digital use cases. For this reason, businesses are looking to leverage not just their own data, but also data from across their ecosystem partnerships. As enterprises look toward AI and automation to drive digital transformation forward, leveraging ecosystems to get the largest pool of useful data possible is increasingly important. AI models need to be trained and retrained using a constant stream of timely, accurate data, and that data is increasingly sourced from ecosystem partners.
Data sharing within ecosystems is revolutionizing many different industries. Let’s take the healthcare industry as an example. We once thought of healthcare as something that primarily happened at the point of care. Now, it’s clear that digital healthcare ecosystems extend far beyond the providers themselves to include universities and research institutes, corporate R&D teams, pharma manufacturers, insurance companies, government regulators and more. Of course, these partners need interoperable data-sharing platforms to make the most of their ecosystems, and that’s exactly what Equinix provides with the help of our own infrastructure partners.
Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Australia is pursuing optimized treatment plans for pediatric cancer patients by analyzing massive volumes of data from its research partners. CCI maintains a presence at an Equinix IBX data center in Sydney, from which it can easily access managed services capabilities from Optus. In addition, the Institute uses Equinix Fabric for private connectivity to cloud services from AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. This multicloud environment helps CCI perform complex genetic profiling with speed and scalability.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how Equinix and its ecosystem partners help CCI find “the signal in the noise” and pursue the mission of ending childhood cancer for good.
Reaching (or creating) new markets
When ecosystem partners deploy in proximity to one another, they can execute business transactions with greater speed and scalability than they ever could using traditional siloed IT infrastructure. This allows them to participate in markets that would otherwise be out of reach, or even create brand new markets.
The financial services industry is filled with use cases that depend on close proximity to trading infrastructure to enable rock-bottom latency. Examples include high-frequency trading, where firms often need to execute trades in a matter of milliseconds to capitalize on arbitrage opportunities.
Due to its history as the world’s first electronic stock exchange, it’s no surprise that Nasdaq is still pioneering new ways to expand low-latency access to services and solutions for its market customers. Through Nasdaq’s partnerships with Equinix and AWS, the company has begun migrating markets to the cloud. It has deployed edge compute devices leveraging AWS Outposts to support ultra-low latency use cases. These devices are deployed directly inside Nasdaq’s primary data center in Carteret, New Jersey, enabling proximity to financial markets and trading partners in New York. To support its move to the cloud, Nasdaq has announced a multi-year partnership with Equinix to expand the Carteret data center.
Digital ecosystems are thriving on Platform Equinix
When you can connect with ecosystem partners quickly and easily, the opportunities to drive new business value are practically endless. Regardless of which partners and service providers you choose to work with or how you plan to leverage their capabilities, there’s only one platform that can help you reliably interconnect with all those partners on a global scale: Platform Equinix®.
At Equinix, our only job is to deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers, and we aim to achieve that by assembling the largest ecosystem of digital partners on the planet. These partners—including managed service providers, network service providers, cloud service providers, global systems integrators and other technology partners—each offer their own unique capabilities that can be assembled and integrated to form a complete solution.
Today, the Equinix ecosystem includes:
These numbers show that any ecosystem partners you want to connect with are likely already deployed at Equinix. No other company can match the depth and diversity of ecosystem partners that Equinix provides, and our customers can access all those partners from wherever they’re deployed.
For a closer look at how enterprises and service providers around the world are leveraging interconnection to get closer to ecosystem partners, and what this trend means for the future of digital transformation across industry verticals, read the GXI from Equinix today.