Don’t Let Your Ecosystem Become Shelfware

By: Danielle Lutkus, Analyst

It’s safe to say that we have all come across a few process or technology ecosystems that capture the whole picture but are so complex they are unusable due to the time and effort it takes to follow the story. We often encounter documents that aim to tell the ecosystem story, but it seems to be in a different language or includes information that is irrelevant to certain users. Business Architecture and Ecosystem Visuals may take months to create but if the end user cannot understand what is going on – all the time, money, and hard work invested will go to waste. The NEOS team leverages the Visio layer function to solve the age-old issue of process visuals becoming shelfware. By utilizing the layer function in Visio, we create the ability for the end user to customize the document to their preference with just a few clicks.

What is an Ecosystem Visual? Why do I need one?

In today’s business environment integrating partners has become essential for insurers to compete. The use of third-parties allows for increased efficiency and a faster go-to-market than creating a homegrown ecosystem internally. Developing an Ecosystem Visual helps all players to understand who is responsible for each step in the process, where the handoffs are, and where there may be contingencies. As easy as it sounds, we have come across clients with 10+ partners in their ecosystem. With so many cooks in the kitchen, there needs to be a clear delineation between who is responsible for what in order to avoid confusion and bottlenecks. By developing an Ecosystem Visual, the sponsor can manage their ecosystem more efficiently and spot pain points easily. Laying out your ecosystem allows for you to test use cases through the model as well to make sure all the bases are covered and there are no gaps in the process.

What are Visio layers?

In Visio, there is a function called layers. The layer function allows for a user to choose which shapes and lines are visible at one time. For instance, if you have the picture below with 10 actors and 16 connecting lines (Example 1) but you only want to see a specific path (Example 2) you can temporarily remove the rest from view.





3 ways to use layers in an Ecosystem:

Utilizing layers allows for users to remove certain pieces of the visual at a time so that you can focus on specific aspects of the model. Layers can be created for many different themes. Here are some examples of themes the NEOS team has used in the past for insurers:

Workstreams: Ecosystems often have multiple workstreams in play that can either be interdependent or independent of each other. For those that are independent, it’s helpful to be able to layer them out for some users. (e.g. eligibility and enrollment vs claims processing)

People vs Technology: Ecosystems have multiple elements including tasks that are handled manually by people and tasks that are strictly electronic. (e.g. data transfers vs customer service)

Exceptions: Ecosystems can have outliers that are actions that do not happen often but may occur occasionally, but for some “in the weeds” users are not a factor so they can be layered out. (e.g. contract negotiation, vendor payments)

The client feedback to breaking down ecosystems this way has been overwhelmingly positive. Partner and Business Ecosystems are complicated and without a visual representation of how the parties operate together, it is difficult to manage the relationships effectively and control the processes you sponsor. You can minimize the risk of your Ecosystem Visual becoming shelfware by further customizing your visuals with layers. It’s no secret that end users want solutions customized to their specific needs and by using the layer function, NEOS can make that a reality.

Want more information regarding Business Ecosystems, Visio Tools, or Partner Management? Leave us a comment below on which topic we should blog next!


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