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The platform strategy and successful digital ecosystems

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Industry leaders, experts and visionaries often say that our world will be faster, more connected, with billions of users, even in the most rural geographical areas, and that the economy today is global. Further, the digital divide won’t be apart as it used to be where most people around the world couldn’t afford computers. Today, with mobile devices that can provide many personal computing functions, the lower socio-economic communities can afford such devices, giving them access to information, services and products that they have never had before. But what does this mean for companies, for enterprises? How can businesses be successful in the digital era?

Computerworld’s Open Business Conference 2014 in San Francisco this week focused on the latest in enabling technologies and solutions at the enterprise, the utilization of Open Source in the areas of Cloud, Big Data, Mobile applications, Enterprise Mobility and applications integration. Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) and technologists in the enterprise have come to recognize the strategic benefits of Open Source from a business perspective as efficient, fast developing, and less costly technologies.

Sam Ramji, VP of Strategy at Apigee spoke about platform strategy and digital ecosystems. He talked about the shift in e-commerce, which will be mainly initiated via mobile devices and completed on a range of platforms. Most executed transactions will utilize optimized network applications and underlying services.

There are new trends in user behavior:

1) How would businesses capture user attention, that has become fragmented?

User attention will continue to be fragmented, with multi-tasking lifestyles, and the use of multi devices that are open and active at the same time. Marketing and sales professionals need to understand that attention span and engagement are transforming.

2) Social media at the workplace

From a teamwork perspective, cross-functional communications, and workplace collaboration, social media is taking over email and other tools as means of communication not just in personal life, but also at the enterprise.

3) A new business model: platform-as-a-model

Business commerce and conduct will be platform-shaped, with a dominant player that will engage other participants in supporting roles. Today, the paradigm is to engage raw materials suppliers, the entire supply chain, sub-system suppliers, distribution channels, other sales channels, partners, and the company's product teams, marketing, sales, etc.

In building software applications, it is even different because the product is not tangible.

What are the success elements in digital ecosystems at the enterprise?

Ramji, an industry expert in enterprise software, product development, and open source strategy, said that a model of a “platform” addresses all of the above aspects. A platform is a business model that handles products, and all the above business and functional entities.

He offered this description: “A platform is a business model which builds value for multiple sides in a given market by consolidating customers, simplifying market-wide processes, and rewarding each player in the value network between the value network and the customers.”

Ramji gave a few examples: with the initial Kindle, Amazon offered eBooks, enabling users to download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media via wireless networking. Then, Sony came with a similar idea with the PlayStation Portable (PSP), a handheld game console, but for games. Microsoft introduced Zune, a brand of digital media products and services, which included a line of portable media players, digital media player software for Windows PCs, music and video streaming services for the Xbox 360 game console, music, TV and movie sales, and more.

Why did they all change their business model? The answer is clear: Because of Apple Computers, that incorporated all these features into one platform on mobile devices: iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Today, companies that offer platform-as-a-model solution can monitize it faster than single-product solutions. Further, Platform model generates value for the originating company AND third party app providers.

The platform strategy creates a new basis for competition and the term ‘platform value’ is used to evaluate adoption cycles and success. A coherent technology ecosystem makes adoption easier. Then increased rates of adoption strengthen the ecosystem, leading to a new basis of technology competition at the platform level and not just single products.

The approach of common platforms and shared incentives is compelling and paves the path to success of digital ecosystems.

One of Apigee's platform implementations is in the domain of the connected car.

"The Connected Car is here" - Watch the video: http://apigee.com/about/iloveapis-conference/connected-car-here

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Apigee offers a Digital Business Platform for customers, partners, and employees. Their platform delivers apps, data, and APIs to mobile. The software let's users build app ecosystems with developers and partners, while helping companies drive their digital business. Apigee has enterprise-scale solution, a global distribution, and the flexibility of either on-premises or in the cloud implementations. Learn more at http://apigee.com

Business cases are at: http://apigee.com/about/iloveapis-conference

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