Why platforms are the future business models

Swedish version DI Digital magazine 14 November 2017

In recent years, digital platforms have given rise to some of the most respected and innovative companies in the world. According to the company Dassault Systèmes, which specializes in digital transformation solutions, this trend has only just begun. Therefore, they are now calling on more companies to make the “platform” part of their business model.

Whether in the taxi, hotel or music industry, the most revolutionary innovations in recent years have not been about new products. Today’s big disruptors are instead using platforms that connect consumers and suppliers in new ways.

For “traditional” companies, these platforms have been difficult to handle because they gave customers greater flexibility, better availability and lower prices. In addition, the platforms provide new opportunities for creating surrounding services to deliver an experience to the customer. In order to handle this new reality, Michael Egan, business transformation consultant at Dassault Systèmes, believes that companies must shift the focus in how they innovate.

“The topic of business models and how we understand business models is becoming more and more relevant. Five years ago, a car company could work with innovation focusing on developing a car in a better and faster way. Today, the question is more fundamental: what business model must we work with in the future? The platform is part of the solution, but it is also a way of working to find the solution” he says.

Spreads from the consumer market

According to Michael Egan, we have just seen the beginning of how platforms affect our businesses. So far, they have primarily changed the way consumers buy goods and services, known as B2C (Business to Consumer), but the benefits of the “platform model” can also be translated into both the B2B (Business to Business) market and the internal processes of companies. A concrete example of how platforms can be used to support the B2B market is Dassault Systèmes innovation platform: “3DEXPERIENCE”.

“Startups can use our solutions in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform as a marketplace. They can design their products on the platform and then directly share that information with 3D printing manufacturers around the world. In this way, the platform can link a company with an idea of a company that has manufacturing capabilities, making it easier to realize new products or services” says Mårten Gustafsson, Sales Director of Dassault Systèmes in Northern Europe.

Learn more: How the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can change your business.

As with the more consumer-oriented platforms, 3DEXPERIENCE creates an easier way to match supply with demand, and B2B platforms are therefore expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. For example, the US consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts, for example, that the B2B platform for 2020 will be twice as big as the B2C platform.

Smarter innovations

Dassault Systèmes also see that these platforms do much more than just link companies and their suppliers. The power of the concept lies rather in connecting together all parts of a product’s lifecycle. By using platforms like 3DEXPERIENCE, companies can collect data from all parts of their business: from the R & D department and production to the marketing and finance department. This data can then be combined with user data from the end consumer and also shared with suppliers, so all aspects of the innovation process are optimized. The end result is that companies can make more attractive offers more efficiently.

“80 to 90 percent of companies work today in an innovation process where they have silos. That is why they need this platform so that everyone can collaborate and share their knowledge. It’s about going from having knowledge of something to creating a know-how within the company”, says Mårten Gustafsson.

Watch the movie: 3DEXPERIENCE platform helps you manage the challenges of the future.

According to Michael Egan, it’s just this ability to connect people that makes these new platforms so extremely successful. For companies that want to keep up with this revolution, they need to consider platforms as more than just a marketplace. Becoming a “platform company” is just as much about adopting a new way of thinking, and why Dassault Systèmes sees their 3DEXPERIENCE platform as a key enabler.

“For me, platforms are fundamentally about putting people at the center. It’s easy to talk about software and different IT solutions, but in the end it’s about connecting people and connecting companies closer to their customers.

Read more: How the 3DEXPERIENCE is used to change your industry

Michael Egan

EuroNorth Business Consulting Partner Expert
Euro North Business Consulting Partner 26 years’ experience in ensuring successful Business Transformation initiatives within Product Development and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). Focus on business value identification and people change management to ensure Business Transformation success. International project experience in Europe, USA, Asia within Automotive, Industrial, Hi-tech, Marine & Offshore, Consumer Goods and Aerospace & Defense industries. Experience across the entire life-cycle of Business Transformation projects: Value management, Stakeholder Management, Project Management, Business consulting. Roles as coach, communicator and facilitator ensuring stakeholder understanding and acceptance within complex and international transformation programs.