On the Evolution of Service Ecosystems: A Study of the Emerging API Economy

  • Rahul C. BasoleEmail author
Part of the Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy book series (SSRI)


Service ecosystems can be described as complex, evolving systems of highly interdependent human and non-human stakeholders who co-create value and are shaped by institutions and social norms. The ecosystem lens is increasingly used by scholars and practitioners to describe and understand the complex nature of value creation and emergent industry structures, replacing traditional lenses of value creation. In this chapter we (1) provide a brief, retrospective view of the evolution of service value creation—from the traditional linear value chain perspective to service value networks and ultimately service ecosystems—and (2) describe, through a data-driven analysis and visualization, the emergence of a particular type of service ecosystem, namely the application programming interface (API) economy. The objective of our chapter is multifold. First and foremost is our desire to deepen the appreciation and appropriateness for using an ecosystem lens in the field of service science. Second, we want to underline the importance of digital relationships in service value creation and the particular growth of the API economy. Lastly, we provide a methodological approach for analyzing and visualizing service ecosystems with the hope to provide stimulus for future data-driven studies of service systems.


Service ecosystems API economy Network analysis Visualization 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of ComputingGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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