Platform Providers need to think more about Ecosystems Principles and Design

In my opening post (here) I was thinking where platform providers seem to be, in their current value proposition. I cannot see their approaches as sustaining. Now, this is a personal opinion and observation but let me lay out an alternative view.

I believe we are at an inflection point where the design of IIoT platforms needs to be integrated into a new way of Ecosystem Design.

There is a real need for a more shared value, breaking through the old traditional boundaries of single companies working with ‘selected’ providers of service and highly selective platform providers.

Ecosystem design is about being open in all potentially valuable proposals and co-creation possibilities. It is using multiple platforms as being part of a very different future design. You go where the best collaborations can take place not get .locked into one.

We need to stop and start to think about Ecosystems and their design for platform providers. Platforms have been amazing in their design, recognition, and value in a very short time. They are changing the way we undertake business. We have passed through the early phase of their design. It is now time to bring platforms into there place within a greater Ecosystem design.

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The case for changing the IIoT platform providers value proposition

I have been reflecting recently on where we are in all the efforts, focus, and resources, that have been going into the building of our IIoT platforms. This has mainly been around the questioning of where they should fit within the needs of an ecosystem, the end outcome of our new industrial design in my opinion.

Let me offer up an initial case of why there is a need for a change in where we are in on IIoT platforms and their current emphasis and focus How we need to change the value equation out in the future in our solution designs and positioning of platforms, as a need to achieve. This is based on considering a greater ecosystem perspective.

Here I attempt to lay out the current position and suggest there is a case for change. The IIoT platform provider needs to change their value proposition urgently in my opinion, or move along a faster evolutionary curve certainly, to get clients seeing their own value-add endgame not just the IIoT providers race for dominating the platform space.

So let’s look at where IIoT platforms currently are and in my related post where we might consider some changes in how we are evolving the platform story. Continue reading

Have you got your digital twin strategy sorted out yet?

Gosh, where do you start on thinking through “digital twins”. The manufacturing industry is exploding with their digital twins to mimic their physical operations,

We have companies like Dassault who have been focusing on digital for many years taking a  specific focus on the human being and commercially releasing their “Living Heart”.

This “living heart” digital twin is the first realistic model of a human organ that actually accounts for electricity, mechanics and blood flow in the heart into a personalized full-dimensional model of the heart. Then users can practice and manipulate it, to place pacemakers, reverse chambers, cut out cross sections and run all sorts of hypothetical scenarios before the physical heart needs to be touched.

Then we have the digital twin that will learn all about you and what you do, think and work upon to provide you a closer replica of your daily life to help you. No, the digital twin is alongside us in multiple ways, it is not just a shadow in a mirror, mimicking all we do, in life and real time but it is working on finding better solutions to improve the actions being undertaken. It helps to predict, suggest and improve on our current activities.

Now stop and absorb that, please. The digital twin takes intelligence to a new level to mimic and then also predicts performance, based on the real-world performance you are feeding back into it. 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

Ecosystem approaches are simply radically different, be ready.

There are significant differences between the ecosystems we might consider. Let’s reflect a little here, some recap and explore some further thoughts.

They all have complexity, they all need highly collaborative platforms to exchange and build through, they all need constant focus on aligning individual ecosystem players needs with the vision and prospective rewards this can bring to all participating parties.

The more engagement with the final ‘consumer’ throughout the process of insight,  discovery to solution building, to eventual proposition outcomes needs the highest ‘active’ attention and communicating for all involved.

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Adjusting to the Changing Landscape of Ecosystems

We all are being told repeatedly that opportunities will increasingly emerge outside of the traditional established lines of business, as new digital technology solutions take increasing hold.

The issue is how we go about adapting to these and taking advantage of the changes all businesses are undergoing. These will be through different approaches to designing and extracting the potential value gained and will form around ecosystems and their management, through technology solutions provided by platform providers.

I am not sure how you feel, but It seems disruption is in everything, in what we need to undertake, in what is coming towards us in change. It has a common purpose, often far less sinister than promoted, it is requiring us to re-equip and open up, as we learn to deal in this changing world where connections can emerge from anywhere at any time, offering a new ‘line of sight’ onto an existing business concept. We need to respond quickly and in different, collaborative ways. Digital challenges are everywhere, to explore and exploit.

We need to engage in different ecosystems and participate in new platform learning to take advantage of the changes taking place all around us. To quote Chuck Robbins, the Cisco CEO “We believe that no one company can deliver the full breadth of technology solutions that customers need at the pace the market requires”. It is through the increasing intensity of using data and a deep analysis where this growing need for broader collaborations becomes so essential.

Partnerships abound, not just within a specific industry but in cross-industry collaborations. Ecosystems need to form to take advantage of many rapidly emerging market opportunities. It is not just welcome to a world of ecosystems, it is learning to change from being exclusive owners into open collaborators, that build ‘greater value’ from the common need of working together, and many of these are increasingly cross-industry ecosystems.

Just recognize the changes we are undertaking in cross-industry collaborations are significant Continue reading

Amazon and Whole Foods expose an ecosystem gap – the last mile

In case you were hibernating or out of range of cell cover or WiFi during the last few days, you know that Amazon has made an offer to acquire Whole Foods.

This places the largest online merchant in direct competition with some of the largest retailers in the US – grocery stores – and continues Amazon’s move into “bricks and mortar” businesses.

On this blog Paul and I have been writing about the importance of innovation in platforms and ecosystems.

With this acquisition, Amazon is attempting to extend its platforms into the “real” world and link up its power in the online world with physical stores.  Amazon understand a lot about attracting customers to its site, and does a reasonably good job at distribution.  Amazon gains a trusted “bricks and mortar” company that is respected (or sneered at) by consumers.  Whole Foods isn’t nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” for nothing, and there are some interesting dynamics between a company that isn’t concerned with profits and a company well-known for top of the line products and good customer service.  But we aren’t here to evaluate the integration of these companies, as much as to identify an ecosystem gap.

Amazon and the last mile problem

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