Myths about Platform Economy

Currently I’m reading a lot about platforms, Platform Economy and about the ‘Platformization‘ of the world. And although I really love the core idea and am a fan of implementing accordingly there are some irritating myths running around:
  1. A Platform Strategy is a Business Strategy and Business Architecture and not a Technical Architecture or Strategy. A new technical architecture might be a supporting part, but only a part of. One selling you the implementation of a new core system as the core of a platform strategy is fooling you
  2. Although there are vertical and horizontal platform models when we talk about platform economy we refer to horizontal models – we don’t see the ‘taylorization’ of vertical production lines as modern platform approaches
  3. There is no one role in a platform strategy. There is no one winner and are many losers. There are many roles and you need to define yours first. From service provider to platform operator, to name just a few.
  4. The platform economic approach is neither new and nor a revolution.  It’s a very old evolutionary approach. The multi-industry company is so to say the ‘mother of the all platform economies’.  Companies like Siemens and Samsung have been the prototypes for such companies, but in the 90ties Europe and especially Germany declared this model to be an outdated one.  In Europe we focused on vertical models with high dependencies and got rid of most of the horizontal models. This is one reason, why we in Germany and probably also in Europe now lack behind
  5. Although the GAFAs are already far ahead we, in Europe and Germany, still have a lot of chances to catching up. Successful platforms combine  services under one entry (‘Login’) and one exit (‘Checkout’). It’s now important to win the ‘Digital Identity- and Payment/Checkout War’ to reshuffle the cards (Think of Verimi, Yes, Paypal, Paydirekt and many others)
  6. If somebody talks about about Platform Economy ask him for successful examples in Germany.  If he doesn’t name Rewe or Check24 he has never really thought about seriously. Check24 combines already a lot vertical financial services and Rewe supermarkets become the physical touchpoint for a strong digital ecosystem in my eyes
In a nutshell:  The digitalization re-empowers a very old business architecture: The vertical combination, aggregation and digital consumption of loosely coupled multi-industry services: The Platform Economy. The Platform Economy regained strength by the introduction of new technologies, but it’s not a technical strategy. The GAFAs are already ahead, but winners are not yet decided. It mainly depends on who will succeeding in the Digital Identity, Trust and Checkout challenge.

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