Platforms

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The Best of This Week

  • Read Time: 2 min 

The must-reads MIT SMR editors are most excited about this week, including: Why emotion is a key ingredient for getting customer experiences to stick, what we can learn from Germany’s platform economy, the best leader for your digital transformation effort might not be the obvious candidate, and more.

How Business Ecosystems Rise (and Often Fall)

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

It’s tempting to look at high-profile business ecosystems and assume that the model is a reliable formula for success. In fact, many ecosystems never earn a significant market share, and only about 15% dominate their markets over time. An analysis shows that most share a common life cycle, with several critical windows along the way. For management, the key is understanding these windows and adjusting the company’s strategy over time to meet the unique requirements of each.

How Digital Platforms Have Become Double-Edged Swords

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The most valuable companies in the world have harnessed platforms’ power to achieve rapid growth and market dominance. But as these platforms have grown in size and scale, the opportunity for abuse has become very real — while profitability isn’t coming easily even for successful platforms. In an interview with MIT SMR, the authors of The Business of Platforms bust the myths and outline the pitfalls of platform strategy.

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The Myths and Realities of Business Ecosystems

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 13 min 

The rise of ecosystems requires a new way of thinking about business: the ecosystems perspective. If we can describe this unique perspective, and clear up the myths and confusions surrounding the use of the term, we position ourselves to design strategy effectively in ecosystems.

Beyond a ‘Winner-Takes-All’ Strategy for Platforms

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Platform companies with the largest user networks offer significant value for consumers. Yet total network size isn’t the only key to competitive advantage; platform users may place equal or greater weight on having access to specific, local, or higher-quality platform users or information about the network or its participants.

Trapped in the Data-Sharing Dilemma

There are clear benefits for companies allowing website users to login with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google. But the ease of user access that social logins make possible comes at a price: The platforms learn a great deal more about users’ buying and searching behavior via these agreements — information that could wind up helping the company’s competitors (including the platform itself) down the line.

How Platform Strategies Continue to Create Value

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Platform companies continue to surprise and challenge conventional approaches to creating value. The 2018 MIT Platform Strategy Summit brought together innovative leaders who are playing a major role in the changing digital economy. Learn from their experience with five major principles for creating new value with platforms.

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Platforms That Grow Are More Than Matchmakers

Platform businesses, like Airbnb or Lyft, often talk about themselves as if they’re merely matchmakers. That’s a smart pitch — when a company is negotiating with investors. But any platform that wants to succeed will have to learn something Airbnb did: Matchmaking isn’t everything. Success also depends on identifying and mitigating risks for your buyers and sellers. The quantity and quality of goods or services bought and sold on your platform will be proportional to the amount of risk mitigated.

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Maximizing the Impact of Enterprise Social Media

Companies adopt enterprise social media (ESM) platforms in the hope that employees will reap the benefits of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and efficiency. But the technical and cultural disconnect between ESM and the rest of the internal IT systems and digital platforms that employees use daily means that less than 50% of ESM platforms are actually used by employees on a regular basis.

Why Some Platforms Are Better Than Others

Executives often look at the network effects of digital platforms as a key source of competitive advantage — without understanding that platforms need to also leverage other factors at play in the local markets and among preferred customers. Network effects can help, but on their own, they offer very limited competitive value.

Could the Big Technology Companies of Today Be the Financial Advisers of Tomorrow?

  • Frontiers

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 10 min 

Although traditional financial services companies now offer mass-market financial advice via “robo-advisers,” average U.S. customers seeking investment advice are still underserved — and platform-based digital powerhouses like Amazon are taking notice.

For a Return on Platform Investment, Focus on New Capabilities

  • Read Time: 5 min 

Business success today requires taking part in open platform ecosystems. But too many world-class product and services companies find their platformization quests narrowly defined, and end up with constricted or conflicted implementations. The ability of information systems and devices to exchange data isn’t enough in and of itself. Instead, developing new capabilities is the key to platform innovation that will add value to an organization.

Showing 1-20 of 42