Platforms are red hot. As companies across industries race to build the next generation of platforms to reach customers, innovate offerings and ignite hyper growth, success is not a given.
Success requires an understanding of the value dynamics that govern business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms. It is not only one-to-one exchange of value that defines traditional product and service models. Enduring customer platforms deliver meaningful value to customers from uncharted spaces.
In the thick(ness) of things
In all the hype around platforms, there have been abject failures. The fatal flaw is often the same. Companies create platforms that never develop “thickness.” This is achieving a density of buyers and sellers to make the critical mass necessary to sustain trade on the platform.
Platforms with thickness enable customers because they solve problems, are experience-led and friction-free. The only way to create these platforms is with a customer-centered approach in which business models and monetization strategies are squarely rooted in what customers need. This often means pushing the business into uncharted spaces.
No more going it alone
Co-platforming is the next generation of platform strategy. This is the integration and co-engineering of interconnected platforms via an open stack or sandbox development to deliver business, technology and data value in harmony.
What’s the value of co-platforming? This approach offers inter-connectivity into ecosystems and access to new data, customers and markets. Development is usually more efficient and less expensive. Co-platforming makes it possible to launch new services and products faster and power disruptive business models. It is also a boon for creating thickness.
When 1+ 1 = 1,000
Co-platforms are collaborative, not combative. They create ever-expanding value beyond the four walls of the company. It is a new value equation where 1 + 1 = 1,000. Because in successful platforms, exponential value accretes to multiple parties, not just to platform providers.
Measuring value is different in co-platforms. Beyond the usual suspects of profitability, elasticity and scalability, the measure of value delivered is in the reach of the platform. This is extent to which customers will pay more for products and services even though lower-cost alternatives are available.
Powering platform performance
Companies that take a thoughtful, strategy-led approach are in the best position for success when it comes to co-platforming and driving new value. There are several fundamentals to success: