Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2009

SAP AG: Orchestrating the Ecosystem

by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani


Business ecosystems require careful orchestration and strategic choices regarding make/buy/partner decisions and membership access. This case examines the strategic and technological issues related to managing SAP's thriving ecosystem of user communities, software vendors, integration partners, and technology providers. It details how the ecosystem gets developed and the challenges in meeting the needs of the internal organization, large partners, and small up-and-coming firms. SAP executives, in this case, have to make a decision if a relatively small startup firm should be elevated to the highest strategic partnership level, normally reserved for very large firms.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Organizational Structure; Partners and Partnerships; Business Strategy; Technology Industry;


Iansiti, Marco, and Karim R. Lakhani. "SAP AG: Orchestrating the Ecosystem." Harvard Business School Case 609-069, April 2009.