A Guide To Platform Economy For Incumbents

The word platform has traditionally been used to refer to a vast number of concepts in many fields, among which business, IT and operations. Depending on who you ask, the simple question “what is a platform?” might return several possible answers. Although the concept of platform is often adopted in a generic way, the business notion currently revolves around the idea of multisided platforms. These businesses are designed to generate value through the facilitation of the interactions between more groups of individuals or companies, mostly through digital tools. Through this role, platforms can start to operate in a sector without directly owning any of the assets traditionally regarded as necessary to succeed in an industry. Although new businesses like eBay, Subito.it or Booking.com are usually pointed at as examples of this scheme, the concept is not new per se. Platforms are essentially “managed marketplaces”, in which the firm controlling the platform governs the market by setting the rules for participation and interactions therein.

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