M&A, Business Models and Ecosystems in the Software Industry

Karl´s blog

Posts tagged platform
Building on the shoulders of giants. Shortcuts to Platform Business Success

Platform business

Say, you want to start a new two-sided platform business. This blog is about jumpstarting platform businesses from scratch by leveraging other platform

Gravity

Gravity is the number of participants you have on both sides of your platform. Gravity on each side of the platform is a key prerequisite for platform success. Platform success is dependent on gravity because the direct and indirect network effects for the participants of the platform depend on gravity. So how do you create instant gravity?

Usually, companies run advertising campaigns and start recruiting participants on each side of the platform. Under this approach, the focus should be on getting participants with high gravity. High gravity means that they are large companies or they bring their ecosystem on to both sides of the platform to massively increase the number of participants.

One example is SAP Ariba. It is a two sided platform with corporates on one side and suppliers of goods and services on the other side. When they added Rio Tinto on the corporate side of the platform, Rio Tinto brought in thousands of their suppliers and thus created massive gravity on the supplier side, too. So this is one reasonable approach to add gravity.

Free but paid with information

Another approach to create gravity is to offer free functionality on one side of the platform, but charge on the other sides of the platform. Perfect examples are Google and Facebook. Consumers are not charged, but they pay with their data. The price of zero for consumers has the potential to attract many consumers and creates gravity.

Leveraging the gravity of other platforms

Why should a platform company at all start to create gravity from scratch on their own? A new approach i am proposing is to leverage gravity of other platforms for your own platform. The idea is to combine other platforms for your success by building on top of them.

Examples: SAP acquired Coresystems. Coresystems had a crowdsourcing platform for field services, i.e. maintenance and repair scheduling. To get more gravity, the solution was integrated with SAP´s marketplace for temporary workers, SAP Fieldglass, which created massive gravity for crowsourcing field technicians.

Proceedings of the European workshop on software ecosystems, held as part of the Platform economy summit, are available

Dear all,

the European workshop on software ecosystems, this year held at the Platform Economy Summit in Berlin, was a huge success.

All the results are in the proceedings, so if you have not been participating, you can get a summary of the discussions in the workshop!

The proceedings are available in print and ebook with the ISBN 9783748140153

at amazon

at BOD, our publisher.

DETAILS

The workshop was held within two sessions of the second day of the First European Platform Economy Summit in Berlin. The first session was a workshop called “New Ecosystem Opportunities & 'White space' Opportunities in Software and High-Tech“ and the second session was a panel about “Network Effects, Data Effects & AI - Keys to the castle“ moderated by Slinger Jansen. You can find more details on both sessions below.
Session one: New Ecosystem Opportunities & 'White space' Opportunities in Software and High-Tech

This design-thinking based workshop featured three short motivating presentations by Peter Buxmann, Sebastien Dupre and Thomas Curran followed by topic-based, hands-on workshops.

Thomas captured the audience by describing his recent success with creating new cloud based ecosystems for digital business in the financial industry. In a traditionally closed industry, what do you do to turn a company into a digital, open platform? Thomas had done just that in a three year project and talked about how to do that successfully.

Peter reported about several studies on the value of data and the importance of privacy. He provided insights into challenges and success factors for software platform providers regarding the value of customer data, customer privacy and tradeoffs between data privacy and data farming by platform providers.

Sebastien showed how Uberization in field service management works by engaging a crowd of service technicians inside and outside of companies. He explained how companies can build an ecosystem connecting field service technicians, partners, own employees and customers to scale their field service operations, increase revenue and provide unmatched customer experience.

All presentations are in the proceedings. The proceedings are available in print and ebook with the ISBN 9783748140153, at amazon, and at BOD, our publisher.

Then we split the crowd of thirty people into three teams that worked together and discussed with the help of the moderators and our design thinking coach Olaf Mackert. First, we ran an introduction game called two truths and one lie, which created a lot of laughter and made everybody ready to work together trustfully.

Then everybody dumped his ideas, questions, issues he or she wanted to discuss on post-its, which were clustered into topics by the moderator. Then the teams voted on the topic to start with. The discussions went on in five minute slots. The team voted on either continuing the discussions on the topic or going to the next topic after each slot.

Thomas Curran´s team, which was the largest team, focused on the technical aspects of creating a platform and technology selection. They had lively and productive discussions leveraging the joint wisdom of the team.

Sebastien´s team of ten discussed topics around uberization of any industry and about changes in strategies for field service management.

Peter Buxmann´s team was a diverse team made up of members from venture capital, manufacturing, public administration which made discussions very interesting based on the different views. The team addressed question around motivations of people to share data, ways to create value from data and also around data protection impact on data-driven business models.

The results of each team are listed in the proceedings. The proceedings are available in print and ebook with the ISBN 9783748140153, at amazon, and at BOD, our publisher.

Session TWO: Network Effects, Data Effects & AI - Keys to the castle

John Rethans, head of Digital Transformation Strategy from Apigee/Google, brought everybody on the same page regarding APIs - what they are and what it means to implement an API driven strategy and technology.

Slinger Jansen from Utrecht University opened the panel with a short presentation about his research. The panel´s focus was on pragmatic aspects of creating successful API platforms. It covered questions like “What is the role of APIs for platforms? How do you build API-based platforms?  What are the success factors and pitfalls when building API-based platforms? How to explain their power to non-technical executives and shareholders?”

In addition to Slinger and John, the panel featured the following speakers: Nik Willetts - President & CEO, TM Forum, Andreas von Oettingen - MD of Factor10.

The presentations are in the proceedings. The proceedings are available in print and ebook with the ISBN 9783748140153, at amazon, and at BOD, our publisher.

best regards

Karl

A recap of the European workshop on software ecosystems 2018

The workshop was held within two sessions of the second day of the First European Platform Economy Summit in Berlin. The first session was a workshop called “New Ecosystem Opportunities & 'White space' Opportunities in Software and High-Tech“ and the second session was a panel about “Network Effects, Data Effects & AI - Keys to the castle“ moderated by Slinger Jansen. You can find more details on both sessions below.
What made this workshop successful were the discussions about the presentations but also the interactions in breaks and during lunch. A big thank you goes out to all presenters, helpers and participants!

Session one: New Ecosystem Opportunities & 'White space' Opportunities in Software and High-Tech

This design-thinking based workshop featured three short motivating presentations by Peter Buxmann, Sebastien Dupre and Thomas Curran followed by topic-based, hands-on workshops.

Thomas captured the audience by describing his recent success with creating new cloud based ecosystems for digital business in the financial industry. In a traditionally closed industry, what do you do to turn a company into a digital, open platform? Thomas had done just that in a three year project and talked about how to do that successfully.

Peter reported about several studies on the value of data and the importance of privacy. He provided insights into challenges and success factors for software platform providers regarding the value of customer data, customer privacy and tradeoffs between data privacy and data farming by platform providers.

Sebastien showed how Uberization in field service management works by engaging a crowd of service technicians inside and outside of companies. He explained how companies can build an ecosystem connecting field service technicians, partners, own employees and customers to scale their field service operations, increase revenue and provide unmatched customer experience.

Then we split the crowd of thirty people into three teams that worked together and discussed with the help of the moderators and our design thinking coach Olaf Mackert. First, we ran an introduction game called two truths and one lie, which created a lot of laughter and made everybody ready to work together trustfully.

Then everybody dumped his ideas, questions, issues he or she wanted to discuss on post-its, which were clustered into topics by the moderator. Then the teams voted on the topic to start with. The discussions went on in five minute slots. The team voted on either continuing the discussions on the topic or going to the next topic after each slot.

Thomas Curran´s team, which was the largest team, focused on the technical aspects of creating a platform and technology selection. They had lively and productive discussions leveraging the joint wisdom of the team.

Sebastien´s team of ten discussed topics around uberization of any industry and about changes in strategies for field service management.

Peter Buxmann´s team was a diverse team made up of members from venture capital, manufacturing, public administration which made discussions very interesting based on the different views. The team addressed question around motivations of people to share data, ways to create value from data and also around data protection impact on data-driven business models.

The results of each team will be provided in a short writeup from the moderator.

Session TWO: Network Effects, Data Effects & AI - Keys to the castle

John Rethans, head of Digital Transformation Strategy from Apigee/Google, brought everybody on the same page regarding APIs - what they are and what it means to implement an API driven strategy and technology.

Slinger Jansen from Utrecht University opened the panel with a short presentation about his research. The panel´s focus was on pragmatic aspects of creating successful API platforms. It covered questions like “What is the role of APIs for platforms? How do you build API-based platforms?  What are the success factors and pitfalls when building API-based platforms? How to explain their power to non-technical executives and shareholders?”

In addition to Slinger and John, the panel featured the following speakers:

Nik Willetts - President & CEO, TM Forum

Andreas von Oettingen - MD of Factor10

M&A Digitalization: where should data reside?

In past years, there always was a dichotomy: either companies were only on premise, storing their crown jewel data on site, or companies ran certain applications in the cloud. Now, hybrid clouds are on the rise.  This means there are three options now.  

In M&A, data rooms are typically private cloud based storage of highly confidential data during due diligence. Data from other phases are usually stored on site. With all these changes happening and the clear need to manage M&A processes,  where should company store their data about  all phases of the M&A process ?

On premise?

The safest way to store mission critical data is to store them on premise.  locked up.  This is perfect for a the early phases. As soon as more people get involved from inside and outside the company, during due diligence and post merger integration, this approach is not perfect. 

in the cloud? 

Cloud storage makes perfect sense for trustfully giving restricted access to people from different companies. For most companies, this is needed during due diligence and following phases. But many companies also interact with third party companies even before due diligence. 

Requirements for M&A process tools

Customers rule. An end-to-end process tool must respect that. No matter if  customers choose on site, private cloud or public cloud, vendors of end-to-end process tools should give customers a choice. The customer should decide where to store data. 

Program of the European workshop on software ecosystems as part of the Platform Economy Summit

The European Workshop on software ecosystems will be held as part of the Platform Economy Summit in Berlin, we will have two sessions on the second day of the European Platform Economy summit.

November 21st

11:15am Challenges and success factors for creating digital platforms

14:30 Network Effects & APIs: Their role in driving platform value

The first session is called “Challenges and success factors for creating digital platforms”, moderated by me: Insights from studies, real life projects and Uberization“ and will feature three short motivating presentations by Peter Buxmann, Thomas Curran and Sebastien Dupre followed by topic-bases workshops.

Peter Buxmann, Head of Software & Digital Business Group at Technical University of Darmstadt, will present the topic “Data Economy, Platforms, and Privacy: Insights from multiple empirical studies“. He will provide insights into challenges and success factors for software platform providers regarding the value of customer data, customer privacy and tradeoffs between data privacy and data farming by platform providers.

Thomas Curran will present the transformation of a financial industry heavyweight to becoming an open, digital platform. In a traditionally closed industry, what do you do to turn a company into a digital, open platform. Thomas has done just that in a three year project and will talk about how to do that successfully.

Sebastien Dupre from Coresystems (now SAP) will present the topic “Uberization of field service: a software platform for crowdsourcing service technicians and show how companies can build an ecosystem connecting field service technicians, partners, own employees and customers to scale their field service operations, increase revenue and provide unmatched customer experience.

The second session in the afternoon is called “Network Effects & APIs: Their role in driving platform value “ and will be moderated by Slinger Jansen - Software Ecosystems Research Lab, Utrecht University. It will focus on questions like “What is the role of APIs for platforms? How do you build API-based platforms?  What are the success factors and pitfalls when building API-based platforms? How to explain their power to non-technical executives and shareholders?”

The session will start with a short introduction about APIs in general by John Nethans from Google. Then Slinger will present the essence of latest research on API approaches. After that, the panel will focus on pragmatic aspects of creating successful API platforms. After a short while, the panel will open up and take questions from the audience.

This session will feature the following speakers:

Slinger Jansen - Software Ecosystems Research Lab, Utrecht University

John Rethans - Head of Digital Transformation Strategy, Apigee, Google

Nik Willetts - President & CEO, TM Forum

Andreas von Oettingen - CTO Factor10

This session will start with short statements from the panel and will transition to a discussion with questions from the audience.

hope to see you there. please make use of discounted tickets as of below.

Dr. Karl Popp

Join now and you get a special 15% discount off the booking fee. Just quote the discount VIP Code: FKN2652EWOSEL to claim your discount.
 
For more information or to register for the Platform Economy Summit Europe, please contact the KNect365 team on: Tel: +44 (0) 20 3377 3279 | Email: gf-registrations@knect365.com | Register here.
 
Remember to quote the VIP code: FKN2652EWOSEL to claim your 15% discount.

Digitalization of M&A processes: Advantages of an end-to-end, unified platform
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An end-to-end, unified platform builds the foundation of M&A success. End-to-end means that the platform covers all phases of the M&A process from early strategizing to deal sourcing to due diligence, signing, closing and integration. All data are combined to one single source of truth, no data are lost between phases, better and well documented handovers are possible between phases.

Unified platform means no more jumping between different solutions and tools. t eases the pain of processing massive amounts of data, be it the data room or planning data for integration planning. For due diligence, this includes combining collaborative due diligence management with virtual data room capabilities.

While there are many advantages of such a platform, let´s just look at three key advantages.

Advantage 1: A unified data lake for all deals

The data lake covers all process phases and all deals allowing e.g. cross-deal analytics, large training sets for machine learning, proposals of next steps based on best practices from all deals. The data lake contains massive amounts of information, but all information used in the process, information about the process steps and decisions taken is stored in one place.

The load of information in M&A processes is already overwhelming? So how can i leverage this large amount of data? Modern information system technologies like predictive analytics, finding outliers within data, semantic analytics and forensic tool to analyse and navigate large data sets as well as providing the right information for your current work context will enable you to leverage the data collected.

Advantage 2: Better decision are being taken and documented

There are two aspects of this advantage: decision journey and augmentation. For each decision taken, you can always recall the decision journey. How was the decision prepared, who took it, what were the consequences, were the goals of the decision reached?

The second aspect is augmentation of decision tasks: if you are the decision maker, augmentation provides you with similar decision taken in other deals including their impact on results in the integration phase, so you can make the best decision. The augmentation in the deal sourcing phase e.g. includes market data, financial data about all targets and predictive analytics about the future success of the target companies.

Advantage 3: Less documentation and reporting: More productivity

Massively increased productivity and less errors due to robotic process automation. No more learning of process models, they will naturally be followed. No more thinking about what the next step is or what your project status is, all information is augmented in your usual workplace. Reporting annoys you? The platform will autmatically propose the content for the next status update, so you spend less hours on reporting, more on quality work and problem solving.

Outlook: where´s the platform?

So, now we know some of the advantages of the platform: one question remains: is the platform your work environment and do you have to learn a completely new work environment that does not naturally integrate with all the other productivity tools that you are using: email, teleconferencing etc.? The platform i envision will be invisible, you will work in your usual work environment, e.g. using a Windows tablet with Outlook and other tools you know. the platform will track your work and augment inforrmation as you work, no separate login, no missing integrations that get on your nerves.

If you liked this article, you will like my book about due diligence.

Let us cover the final frontier of digitalization: M&A processes!
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While many business processes are automated, use big data analytics and digital assistants, we seem to run M&A processes like it is 1999. Imagining what is possible today, we are on the verge of disruption in M&A.

What is needed?

Here is the list of requirements to massively digitize the M&A process:

  • end-to-end process support from early phases to end of the integration project,

  • Digital learning for M&A knowledge,

  • Semantic analysis of available data of acquirer and target and then leverage the semantic data to navigate the data via assistive technologies, like automatic analysis of legal documents,

  • assistive technologies like chatbots, robotic process automation and digital assistants that help managers watch risks, ask the right questions and propose proper next steps,

  • big data analytics: data rooms are a large data set, so why dig through it manually?,

  • Use of forensic technologies for understanding and investigating data room content

  • Automate IT due diligence by using scanners for analysis of networks, applications and interfaces,

  • Automatically analyse content of existing ERP systems for due diligence, merger integration and migration of ERP systems.

What is already digital?

  • Learning: see PMI2GO: digital online learning for post merger integration

  • Data rooms: Trusted file stores for due diligence are digital. But is file store digitalization driven far enough? No. Not yet.

  • Process digitalization: There are M&A process tools that allow partial automation of management tasks. But do we get digitalization with chatbots, assistive technology based on machine learning? No. Not yet.

The opportunities are massive but are not yet leveraged. I think the M&A community has to provide guidance to vendors to achieve a vision i call the Digital M&A Manifesto. Stay tuned for more details.