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Architecting a software-based ecosystem for the automotive aftermarket

An experience report
: Naab, Matthias; Rost, Dominik; Knodel, Jens


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
IEEE 15th International Conference on Software Architecture, ICSA 2018. Proceedings : Seattle, Washington, 30 April-4 May 2018
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5386-6398-1
ISBN: 978-1-5386-6399-8
International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA) <15, 2018, Seattle/Wash.>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
software architecture; ecosystem architecture; platform economy; platform architecture; practical experience

Software-based ecosystems comprise multiple software systems developed by a multitude of organizations. They are on the one hand technically integrated, often via a dedicated platform forming the center of the ecosystem. On the other hand, the organizations and their systems interact in a way that provides (business) benefits for all participants and leads to new forms of businesses. The ecosystem platform is typically defined, developed and operated by the ecosystem initiator. In the past two years, we have been working on the initiation of an ecosystem and the development of a platform for the automotive aftermarket: a data and service marketplace. As core contributions in this paper, we share the experiences and lessons learned from the early phases from an architect’s point of view. As a background, we first describe our key architecture drivers, the current state of the architecture, and how architecture work is performed. We experienced a substantially extended scope for ecosystem architects, working on the overall ecosystem and the platform. Especially in the beginning, architects have to live with a high degree of uncertainty and fuzziness and have to help shaping and aligning business, technical, and legal aspects. Besides these key insights, we share lessons learned in the following categories: Requirements and Priorities, Architecture and Architecture Work, Platform Releases and Time-to-Market, Partners, Communication, Learning from other Ecosystems.