The Platform Economy: What It Is And Why It Matters

Susan Walker

Amazon, Google, Alibaba, and Facebook—what are their most groundbreaking innovations? The services they offer? Their virtual approach to business? The way they engage with customers?

Of course, all these factors are important, but arguably their biggest innovations are the platforms they use to build and deliver new services.

Across every industry, leaders are tapping into the power of platforms to drive new business models. And as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the wider digitalization of society continues, there will be further opportunities for companies that have the imagination to see the possibilities they offer.

New networks

The beauty of platforms is their ability to allow organizations to extend and share information, services, skills, and technologies across a wider ecosystem that links new networks of partners, suppliers, and customers.

Imagine a manufacturer that focuses only on R&D and sales and marketing, leaving specialist partners to handle every other aspect of the business. We already have a taxi company that owns no taxis, and a hotel company that owns no hotels. So why not a manufacturer that does no manufacturing?

New ecosystems

The importance of platforms for future business success is being recognized, too. In Accenture’s Technology Vision 2016 survey, 40% of executives believe that adopting a platform-based business model and engaging in ecosystems of digital partners are very critical for their business success.

In another Accenture report that surveyed more than 560 chief strategy officers, a significant majority of those claiming to be well-prepared for industry disruption (88%) have already started investing heavily in platform-based business models.

New connections

Platforms offer organizations the opportunity to improve collaboration and speed outcomes and value creation. Imagine if patients, life science companies, hospitals, and other key healthcare players were connected on one unified platform. How much faster would it be to undertake clinical trials and bring new drugs to market?

New beginnings

So how can companies take advantage of the platform economy? The starting point is having a platform strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every company has to build its own platform and invite others to join. But it does mean identifying the competencies that must be developed and owned and those that can be accessed by plugging into other platforms.

The second initiative organizations need to take is to accelerate their uptake of digital technologies, agile development approaches, and cloud computing. The power of a digital platform lies in its ability to provide instant, seamless, and secure access to the digital solutions and services that enable new ecosystems to function. 

The content for this blog was taken from “Accenture Technology Vision 2016. Staking a claim in the platform economy.” The full report is available here.







Susan Walker

About Susan Walker

Susan Walker leads SAP’s Global Strategic Technology and Global Strategic Services Partner Marketing organization. She is responsible for SAP’s alliance marketing vision, strategy and execution across the company, with a strong focus on leveraging and extending leading-edge innovation to enable customers to transform their businesses.