In brief

In brief

  • As companies race to build the next generation of platforms to reach customers, innovate offerings and ignite hyper growth, success isn’t a given.
  • With platform value created differently, it has to be measured differently, making platform reach critical.
  • Platforms live or die on this reach—or “thickness”—a strong density of buyers and sellers that sustains trade, use and engagement.
  • Key to this thickness is co-platforming, which integrates and co-engineers interconnected platforms to deliver business, technology and data value.

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.

With platform strategy, the uncharted space where new value resides lies in solving the hard problems. Solutions take joint effort, and co-platforming is the means to the end.

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:

Go for thickness (and scale)

Constantly reinvent the value proposition to ensure that the platform generates meaningful value for customers.

Manage the “composite” organization

Orchestrate a constellation of components, including security, customer experience, modularity and governance with partners.

Embrace the art of the long view

Avoid the temptation of bouncing out of a platform too soon if there is not early traction.

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Frédéric Brunier

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Christian Kelly

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Software & Platforms

Thanos Malevitis

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy

Aditya Shah

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy


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