Identifying an industry ripe for platform disruption: If you really want to create value, forget about burning platforms and start building them. A platform, explain Geoffrey Parker and Marshall Van Alstyne (professors at Tulane and Boston University associated with the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy), and Sangeet Choudary, founder and CEO of Platform Strategy Labs, in Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You, is a “business model that uses technology to connect people, organizations, and resources in an interactive ecosystem.”
They contend that the ranks of today’s most valuable companies are increasing populated with those that successfully build and control platforms. Think Apple with iTunes, John Deere with its My John Deere Operations Center, and a host of other platform-based companies as diverse as McCormick Foods, Amazon, and Uber.
The problem with platforms is context. The authors think platform-based businesses eventually will come to dominate every industry, but they caution readers that the window of opportunity for launching a successful platform will vary according to the characteristics of a specific industry.
How do you know if and when your industry is ripe for platform disruption? As this excerpt from the forthcoming book (reprinted with permission) details, the emergence of platform businesses is most likely in highly-fragmented industries with non-scalable gatekeepers in which information is both a significant source of value and extremely asymmetrical. The emergence of platform disruption is less likely in resource-intensive industries that are subject to high levels of regulatory control and high failure costs.