Platforms 4 Future

Scaling B2B platforms — Overcoming scaling bottlenecks

Corporates understand that platforms can be a strategic way to scale and win business. But platforms also require a new set of skills and tactics to succeed, different from the traditional ones. However, there is a clear gap between education and market demand.

Today, our two guest experts Peter Evans, Managing Director of the Platform Strategy Institute, an advisory firm providing strategic advice to companies around platform strategy, and Henrik Lauridsen, Founder and Director of GERBUS Academy, a Business Academy focusing on Executive and Senior Management, will talk about platform skills and training.

The skills it takes to build platforms

Platform companies have their own specific business model, they differ from linear business models but also from e-commerce or other online forms of business. One particularly interesting thing is that many managers often think they just need one or two platform-informed people to build those.

According to Peter Evans, platforms actually require 6 key roles: a Platform Strategist, a Product Management, a Platform Ecosystem Manager (or Platform Community Manager), a Platform Data Manager, an Engineering Team and a Platform Privacy, Trust and Compliance. Then those platform professionals need to be guided by a new kind of leader, who is able to think “platformly”, which is very different from traditional linear business models and from the education received by most senior managers.

Unfortunately, it happens many times that companies don’t realise they need those skills to build a successful company, they struggle to choose between people with industry knowledge, data expertise or platform skills where they should include the three of them.

For instance, the pharmaceutical industry recognises that platforms can be an innovative and cheaper way to address drug discovery. They’ve recognized that they need more and better data, as well as to open up their ecosystems to meet talents and share expertise. To do so, they want people with deep expertise in life sciences or medicine, they want people who understand big data analytics and they want people who have the technical knowledge about platforms. Most of the time they will not find that perfect employee, so they will have to come across this strategic choice : do you find technical people and bring them in, but they may not have the life sciences or medical background, or do you institute internal training programs to bring in that knowledge that is required to really be able to execute serious platform strategy?

The educational gap

Nowadays, 60% of the top 100 platform companies by market capitalization are still run by founders. Peter Evans explains we find ourselves at an inflection point: “as the platform economy expands, the recognition that you need to talk about platform business models is now becoming more widespread.” Incumbent companies are beginning to realize that they need to adopt this strategy and to upskill their organization with new talent. And as Henrik highlights, it’s not enough for the CEO to know what platforms are, different teams and roles need to be involved in platform training to ensure the whole company moves in the right direction.

Do you want to learn more about how to overcome educational issues in terms of platform thinking? Check out the whole article or listen to our Platforms 4 Future podcast episode via your favorite streaming platform.

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Helping incumbent organisations fightback against digital disruption with platform-based business models | Creator of the Platform Innovation Kit

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Matthias Walter

Matthias Walter

Helping incumbent organisations fightback against digital disruption with platform-based business models | Creator of the Platform Innovation Kit

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