Late last year, a group of patients with Type 1 Diabetes began tracking their blood sugar levels, insulin doses, food intake, physical activity, mood, and stress levels on a healthcare app on their mobile devices.
The prototype, the first to be built on the Philips Healthcare digital platform, collects, integrates and analyses electronic medical records, personal health data, and information from connected consumer and medical devices like wireless glucose meters and activity monitors, and presents it on smartphones and tablets. Diabetes patients use this information to make up to 180 decisions each day to manage their disease. By also connecting patients to their health care providers, the platform allows continuous, collaborative care at home, potentially reducing health deterioration, hospital readmissions, and mortality.
While patients enjoy higher quality healthcare at lower costs, for Philips and its three cloud partners, the app is the tip of a very large iceberg. The healthcare giant’s goal is to use the platform business model to grow its market share across the continuum of healthcare needs, from healthy living, prevention and diagnosis, to treatment, recovery and home care—a market whose combined value exceeds US$100 billion.
Once the premise of tech and born-digital organisations like Google and Amazon, platform strategies are increasingly being adopted by digital leaders across industries. The attraction of this new, agile mode of operation is clear—by combining the capacities of multiple players in an ecosystem, companies can tap into resources they don’t need to own to open up new paths of growth. And the rewards are rich. The top 15 companies within the platform space have a staggering market capitalisation of US$2.6 trillion.
As cities become smart, healthcare becomes digital, and cars and homes become connected, businesses will need to be able to operate within these ecosystems. By 2018, IDC predicts that more than 50 percent of large companies—and more than 80 percent of companies with advanced digital transformation strategies—will create and/or partner with industry platforms.
Indeed, 81 percent of the 3,200 business and IT executives we surveyed for TechVision 2016 said that platform-based business models will be core to their growth strategy within three years.
Whether they own a platform or plug into ecosystems driven by other companies, what is clear is that every company must have a platform strategy and the know-how to operate it.