There are dark clouds surrounding IIoT platforms

I am getting fascinated by platforms and ecosystems. Does it show? This is why I am increasingly spending more time in this area as it is highly innovating in its potential.

I am constantly educating myself on this, as there is so much of this being new, or emerging, to make the connections for where innovation is going in “dual” tandem with technology and digital. A recent post I made tells of this growing connection for a new ROI.

I decided to become focused on business platforms and ecosystems for a number of reasons- firstly they are fascinating me ( I know I have to get a grip!) and more importantly for my business advisory work going forward in connecting innovation into this world.

So this posting site is a place where I share a number of strands of thought to provide increased understanding, to get others to become comfortable on their “learning journey” of new emerging industrial digital technology models, ones that offer a very exciting connected future but evolutionary in their nature.

I want to help shape, influence and amplify the breaking story of IIoT platforms-as-a-service as part of my advisory business model (as-a-service) and take them to the most important level of need to understand; the ecosystem building that is required.Taking on new journeys of understanding and potential for innovation is exciting, well for me.

Commercial break over so let’s get back to platforms and ecosystems…

At the moment I have been specifically looking at the questions that seem to be holding IIoT platforms back? There are a number of inhibitors. So how can a number of dark clouds dissipate for IIoT platforms to really become the future way of connecting up so much within your specific industry sector? This is first of two posts…. Continue reading

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Rethinking the Value of Business Ecosystems

Business is far from usual, it is transforming in front of our eyes. A business has to simply accept this is a changing world and business ecosystems are coming of age, perhaps adding more complexity but also to help bridge this transformation. The traditional silo mentality, the belief that your industry boundaries are immune to change and new challenges, is a grave mistake.

There is, or should be, a recognition that all businesses should find opportunities to coalesce into networked ecosystems. They need to open up to a far greater potential than is presently on offer to each individual entity, unless you have deep pockets (Apple), as well as so many app developers lining up to be part of their ecosystem, or patient shareholders (Amazon) continuing seeing growth but limited profit return, or inflows of revenue (Google), where you can invest in new, potentially huge but speculative, technology-related business concepts.

Ecosystems can offer so much connecting value out there to ‘form’ around.

We are witnessing a very radical change, driven by technology, increasingly disrupting and breaking down past traditional boundaries, partly built to defend positions so as to achieve economic scale. There is a new economic logic to build even greater scale, it involves greater complexity, yet its value proposition is to strive towards offer greater customer experience and satisfaction, where the solutions are valued highly in social and economic value. Ones that get closer to their connected expectations and daily needs for solutions to solve, in far better ways, than that are presently offered. Innovative design has become paramount to these new offerings.

The market dynamics are also changing. Those businesses with a different mindset of global trade and value proposition building will benefit. Risk is taking on different forms to capitalize on these changes. Today we can all be liberated through the exploitation of technology and new radical innovation design. In some ways, it has become a new ‘land grab’ panning for digital gold. We are at the point of building a new frontier that is calling for business change.

As we think through the impacts of the changes we need to reflect on some of its parts. Some of these are outlined here: Continue reading

Returning to the Interconnected Parts of the Ecosystem

Credit Katri Valkokari

I wrote a post “the Interconnected Parts of the Ecosystem” earlier this year, after a paper written by Katri Valkokari, a Research Manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland caught my eye. I wanted to come back to this really powerful visual, recognizing the three interrelated ecosystems we require to form around. I mentioned in my post, these three parts actually do fuse into one, making up an integrated ecosystem of their distinct parts.

It gave me a level of recognition that we do have this need for this three-stage evolution, especially in a business context. Each establishes a boundary of scope and feeds into each other constantly. It is the fact they combine ideas, skills, learning, fresh insights, leading to promising outcomes and creations. It is how they interact and add new value that gives this ‘combination effect’ such potential for us to consider.

The combining of tangible and intangible assets gives us ‘fresh capital’. I have written about Capital and consciously focused upon this, up to know, more under Innovation Capital, as this draws in knowledge through insights and then pushes these out from Knowledge into Organizations as concepts to be explored and exploited, to grow and improve.

Our innovation capital has mostly been internally built to date, yet there is a time and need to take this out with new forms of collaboration, leveraging all the combined assets into a new “collective capital”. This needs reflecting upon, of how you would ‘break this down’, perhaps within this awareness of all these three ecosystems that we do need to consider.

Continue reading

Platform understanding is growing

I have put some focus back on the platforms recently, as this is becoming a real imperative to understand the whole meaning and implications of platforms, with the necessary management they require, so as to enable us to rethink different business models for the future.

There are without doubt real business implications in taking on a platform strategy as they really will be having such a transforming effect on all we do within companies and way beyond with others, including customers and even past competitors. They uproot the present and much of the established practicies.

They are changing the face of markets, industries, and competition but we within the established business world, mostly formed in the 20th centure seem slow to recognize their incredible impact, if we applied this platform thinking towards our own business, what would it mean?

There is a recognition that all innovation does not occur inside, it occurs from ‘open’ collaboration. It occurs from engagement and appreciating many others have better insights and possible answers, it is the power of combining them that has such economic consequence and great value creation potential. Our businesses are all becoming based on platforms.

The difficulty for many of us is first understanding what a platform is all about. The getting a clearer picture of the different types of platforms. Each has different tasks in building their specific “network effect” and how they are set up to interact and the type of problems they are attempting to solve. Some are really open, some are seeking growth, some are seeking collaborators to come together and work on ‘cracking’ more complex problems that one individual company would not be able to do.

In some of my recent updating of the platform breaking scene, I came across a terrific site that has created an open initiative to help entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes to relate and build successful platform businesses, called Platform Hunt. Continue reading

Blockchain and distributed ledgers as innovative platforms

It had to come to this eventually.  The emergence of Blockchain and distributed ledger systems illustrates how innovation is moving from focus on products and services, which are interesting but don’t provide a long-lasting competitive advantage, to a focus on platforms and ecosystems.

Over the last few weeks this need for a lasting competitive shift in focus was emphasized as Ford pushed out its CEO because he wasn’t changing the company fast enough. As discussed in this blog previously, the automotive sector must rethink its competitive position.  Increasingly, people want flexible transportation – from cabs, Uber, public transportation and/or their cars.

The automotive manufacturers (Ford, GM, Fiat, Mercedes, etc) must shift their focus from building physical cars to providing transportation – a shift in thinking and strategy.

In a very similar manner we can see that banking and financial services are moving from offering discrete services (mortgages, loans, checking/savings accounts, etc) and are considering how to either own or integrate with larger platforms and ecosystems, because the older conventions are less attractive to emerging customers and technology is advancing so quickly that soon many different companies and industries can offer banking-like services.

Distributed ledgers and Blockchain may point out a new competitive platform that some firm is going to capitalize on.  For example, we can imagine a time in the not too distant future where a large company that supports and relies on an extended supply chain – the automotive industry for example – could dictate that all of its supply chain participants must interact using Blockchain.  Then we’d have a company spanning, industry wide ERP like platform.  If this sounds crazy, don’t laugh.  The government of Dubai just announced that within five years every entity that interacts with the government must do so using Blockchain.

Continue reading

Seeing differences between B2C and B2B within Ecosystems and Platforms

Jeffrey wrote a recent post “No walled gardens in B2B platforms” and started with this: “Paul and I have noted throughout our writings on platforms and ecosystems the key differences between companies that interact primarily with consumers (B2C) and companies that interact primarily with other corporations (B2B)”

I wanted to highlight some key differences as a follow-up post and was beginning to work on this when up “pops” a really valuable article by McKinsey “Finding the right digital balance in B2B customer experience”.

Jeffrey and I have championed the idea that customer experience is the ultimate innovation outcome, based on strong ecosystems and platforms so this caught my attention. The article does a good job of focusing the B2B companies to putting customer-centricity and experiences at the heart of their strategy. This offers good advice on the one-to-one model but less on the complications of many businesses working with other business on a two-sided platform of multiple participants

The writers for this McKinsey article, rightly point out the root of the problem is that while the role of customer journeys is central to both B2B and B2C, their incidence and importance are different for B2B and they go on and explain the chief differences.

I’d like to “lift out” these four chief differences McKinsey defines and discuss these more in the multi-sided platform context and ecosystem needs, going beyond the customer experience ones. Continue reading

The Interconnected Parts of an Ecosystem

Credit Katri Valkokari

Now I relate very strongly to different visuals and this happens to be a current favorite of mine. It sums up the differences between the types of ecosystems we need to recognize and work through.

I came across this in a paper by Katri Valkokari, a Research Manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in the Business, Innovation and Foresight research area.

Although it presses a number of buttons for me, the paper seems to have limited the differences shown here and I just want to throw this visual open just a little more, in your ‘need to know’ here and then come back to it later.

What Katri does, is provide a really good contribution into how they differ in outcomes, interactions, even a logic of actions and the different ‘actor’ roles for the three.

A return to thinking Ecosystems and Platforms Continue reading