Development of Business Ecosystems in the DACH Region and the Potential of “Digital Files” as a Starting Point for Integrated Services

For four years now, the Ecosystems Competence Center has been investigating which business ecosystems are emerging and developing in the DACH region. This Ecosystem Radar, whose basic structure we have already described in this blog post, is supplemented by selected international Business Ecosystems. The focus is not only on established Business Ecosystems, but also on young companies that, due to their design, have the assets for a Business Ecosystem within them.

As part of the annual update, interesting insights emerge regarding the emergence, but also the cessation, of digital business ecosystems.

Ecosystem radar as of May 2023

Source: Competence Center Ecosystems, Workshop 2, Karlsruhe, May 2023

The past year has seen the discontinuation of some exciting initiatives. These include decentralized organizations such as Joltee, a DLT-based platform for e-cars. This platform was intended to connect drivers, insurers, car manufacturers, public as well as private partners and later be complemented by a marketplace. Also discontinued was the DLT-based health bank (CH), which was intended to enable citizens to autonomously manage their health data. Progress also appears to have slowed for other DLT-based solutions supported by a variety of players.[1] The impression is created that such decentralized solutions, which are not promoted by a prominent player or company – which often then also direct their customers to the corresponding platform – are very difficult to implement.[2] The question arises here as to whether the public sector could not promote such initiatives, especially when it comes to data relevant to citizens.[3]

Furthermore, various multibanking apps such as Heymoney (Allianz Versicherung) or Yolt (ING Diba) were terminated. One hypothesis is that financial service providers are generally not the optimal providers for a multibanking solution and that this would be better done by a neutral provider. Further withdrawals of Business Ecosystems – such as Sperbank – can be observed as a result of the Ukraine war.

In addition to the failure of DLT-based networks, the closure of multibanking offerings, and the impact of the Ukraine war, however, there have also been expansions in service offering, particularly among internationally operating business ecosystems. For example, Uber, a passenger transportation service, has added freight and food transportation to its services and is now focusing on airspace as a transportation destination.

Digital files

A fundamental prerequisite for offering customers integrated solutions is the concept of the “digital file”. By this we mean a collection of relevant data relating to a specific object on which solutions are focused. Access to this data is needed to enable all service providers to offer customized (micro) services. Such digital files are currently emerging in all the business ecosystem areas we have observed.

The following graphic shows selected examples of digital files in various business ecosystems and is not intended to be exhaustive.

Digital files in selected business ecosystems

Source: Competence Center Ecosystems, Workshop 2, Karlsruhe, May 2023

We have already touched on the concept of digital records (in the context of health bank (CH)) above. While the health bank (CH) digital patient record has been discontinued, interestingly such offerings are being offered by Teachers Multual Bank Limited in Australia and by the company Teladoc in over 120 countries internationally. Teladoc primarily uses telephone and video conferencing software to provide on-demand medical care remotely. In doing so, patients can log on to the service at any time and be connected to a certified, board-certified physician within minutes. The company’s physicians primarily treat “non-emergencies” such as flu, mental health issues and dermatological conditions. The company has a network of 55,000 experts working in 450 medical specialties. On the one hand, Teladoc provides direct-to-customer (D2C) counseling for mental illness (betterhelp) to end users. On the other hand, Teladoc generates the majority of its revenue through business-to-business (B2B) offerings, providing medical services to companies such as SAP and Bank of America for their employees. Teladoc’s growth has been impressive. For example, it doubled its revenue to $2 billion from 2020 to 2021 and has never yet turned a profit.[4] The company is cleverly exploiting aspects of the network effect: the more data patients and their doctors upload to the platform, the more information is available for medical evaluations, which in turn makes the provider more interesting for doctors who are not yet connected. Furthermore, the data is made available for research purposes – in some cases against payment. Whether it is to be welcomed from the point of view of the employees if a telemedical treatment or consultation takes place at the workplace – as it is advertised on the part of Teladoc as a company advantage – is, however, questionable with regard to confidentiality reasons, since Teladoc already had to pay 7.8 billion dollars on March 2, 2021 in the area of D2C as compensation for the passing on of patient data for advertising purposes.[5] But also in relation to people – beyond health – vast amounts of data are collected regarding consumer behavior, for example by Netflix, Google or Meta. Another facet in the context of the human data object is the security or creation of digital identities (KYC).[6]

A race is also currently taking place in the ecosystem area of “housing”. The more information providers have about the owner-occupied property, the better they can offer related services such as financing, renovation, energy-saving measures, and garden maintenance. Part of the house data such as age, size, etc. is publicly available.[7] Up to now, information about renovations carried out has had to be maintained by the owners themselves. Here, specific incentives are often used to get the owner to upload the respective data. For example, some providers offer new estimates of the house value every quarter in return for the data. [8]

Similar developments can be observed in the corporate sector. The creation of digital files is the entry point or prerequisite for the creation of digital twins, which reproduce the virtual image of an object or system from the real world. In addition to individual objects, processes, services and entire factories can also be represented in the digital world.[9] These can be used for topics such as predictive maintenance – and this refers not only to machines, but also to people.[10]

The financial industry now has the opportunity to integrate its services into the respective customer journey in a precisely tailored and individualized manner. In addition to suitable data, outstanding services, corresponding IT capabilities and an ecosystem-oriented mindset are further prerequisites for this.


[1] One example is cardossier, a solution for managing all vehicle data on the DLT with players such as Amag, AXA, Mobilier, Postfinance, Porsche and Strassenverkehrsamt Argau. Managing the life cycle of a vehicle in a decentralized, digital ecosystem. – Cardossier

[2] For more information on the development of DLT and AI-based business ecosystems, click here: Innovative technologies drive ecosystem development |

[3] For example, there is the concept of “digital data rooms” as a basis for such services, as presented by OFCOM and the FDFA. Promoting trusted data rooms and digital self-determination (

[4] Teladoc Balance Sheet/P&L |

[5] FTC says online counseling service BetterHelp pushed people into handing over health information – and broke its privacy promises | Federal Trade Commission

[6] PowerPoint presentation (

[7] GWR | Federal Register of Buildings and Dwellings (

[8] House valuation | Calculate market value online (

[9] Microsoft explains: What are Digital Twins? | News Center Microsoft

[10] What is a digital patient* twin anyway? (

Stefanie Auge-Dickhut
Ivana Vukadinovic
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