digital business ecosystems

digital business ecosystems

Cheenu Seshadri shares an older post that explains the term zero-rating and why it was adopted.

I have been watching the launch of Airtel Zero and the visceral reaction of a million netizens in India with curiosity. With 240M+ internet users and ubiquitous use of social media, I guess it is not hard to whip up a million citizens into frenzy!

Having led strategy for a zero-rating pioneer and having the unfortunate experience of dealing with the alarming side-effects of an activist regulatory regime, I believe this reaction is misplaced and any supportive actions by the telecom regulators will only serve to keep the digital divide in India up for longer.

The term zero-rating was yet to be coined, when in late 2009, we at MTS launched our high-speed data product in India. As an upstart trying to disrupt the telecom landscape, we introduced numerous innovations to the market – data on prepaid for the 1st time in India, zero-balance recharge, unlimited data and differential charging (launched with an offer of 5 free websites and later allowed customers to customize their choice of 5 sites). The last innovation is in essence zero-rating! We were among the first in the world to work with websites and vendors to figure out the technology to make this happen. Figuring out how to have content on websites not count towards your data allocation was one thing, but we went further to make sure the ads on these sites did not either.

Why did we do this? We believed trialing was an important step towards growing the internet population in India and allowing subscribers to surf their favorite sites for free was our way of making this happen. While we did not strike revenue arrangements with these websites and chose to give away this data for free, we believed this was a way for us to differentiate ourselves in the market.


Key points include:

  • The digital divide in India
  • Net neutrality
  • Global benchmarks


Read the full article, Zero-rating controversy in India – a storm in a teacup, on LinkedIn.


Supriya Prakash Sen shares an article that identifies how Digital Business Ecosystems could be the answer to addressing the multiple needs of the consumer, and how COVID-19 has accelerated the need to change.

As purchasing behaviors change over time, so too does the landscape that solution providers operate in. In 2020, consumers are spoilt for choice; but consumers are short on time and often overwhelmed by the options on offer. Consequently, the balance of power for businesses has shifted in favor of those who can provide a seamless, curated service, that offers customers Value, Choice and Delightful Experience- meeting not one but their multiple needs. Companies in South East Asia have begun to recognize the importance of meeting these consumers’ new and diverse needs under one single umbrella.

This means that the arena is ripe for successful introduction of services embedded within Digital Business Ecosystems. A digital business ecosystem is an environment of digital platforms with a complex network of stakeholders that connect online to do business and interact digitally in ways that create value for all. And instead of concentrating on linear supplier, customer, and distributor relationships, these companies focus on adding value in new ways to how each party in the ecosystem can bring value to the other parties.

In this context, Singapore has much to contribute to the South East Asia region in human capital even as we meet our own ecosystem buildout needs. It is possible to design intentionally for how our companies, solution providers as well as foreign companies within our digital business ecosystem can be a potent force for good within the larger South East Asia region. One example of this, as I point out later in this article, is AFIN-APIX, the innovative fintech collaboration platform set up as a non-profit in Singapore (where I am an independent Director).


Key points in this article include:

  • Collaboration between players
  • Reaching a broader customer base
  • Platform business models


Read the full article, Collaborating to Succeed: Evolving Digital Financial Ecosystems in SEA, on LinkedIn.



Susan Hamilton Meier shares her thoughts on the merger of analytical and creative thinking and the processes and tools she has designed to help teams problem-solve more creatively.

I turned up at the Boston Consulting Group, probably as the only hire who had never opened a spreadsheet before, so that was interesting, and I ended up, by virtue of that, getting assigned to projects where I did a lot more people skills, so I did a lot of interviews, I gravitated towards their consumer goods practice, and it was actually after they put me through business school, and it was actually after business school, which was around the time when companies were trying to work out what their brands meant in an online environment that I discovered the discipline of branding and that very interesting question of what your brand means. 


Points covered in this talk include:

  • How she became interested in branding
  • Discovering the discipline of branding online
  • Consumer research and branding
  • The driving forces behind brand loyalty


Listen to the full podcast, Brand Strategy with Susan Meier, on the Dream Business Radio podcast.