Today our expert visitors, Peter Evans, Managing Director of the Platform Strategy Institute, an advisory firm that provides strategic advice to companies on platform strategy, and Henrik Lauridsen, Founder and Director of GERBUS Academy, a Business Academy focusing on Executive and Senior Management, will share their opinion about platform skills and training.
The skillset that is required for platform building
Platform firms have their own distinct business model, which differs from both linear and non-linear business models, as well as e-commerce and other kinds of internet commerce businesses. Fascinating is that management believes that they just need a couple of platform-informed people in order to develop them.
Platforms, according to Peter Evans, require six critical roles:
1. a Platform Strategist
2. a Product Management team
3. a Platform Ecosystem Manager (or Platform Community Manager)
4. a Platform Data Manager
5. an Engineering Team and
6. a Platform Privacy, Trust, and Compliance team.
Regrettably, many organizations are unaware that they require such abilities to develop a successful business, and they struggle to pick between employees with industry experience, data expertise, or platform skills, when all three should be included.
The pharmaceutical sector, for example, acknowledges that platforms may be a novel and cost-effective method to solve drug research. Pharmaceutical industry realized that they need more accurate statistics, as well as the ability to open up their ecosystems to meet new professionals and exchange their knowledge. To accomplish so, they need professionals with extensive experience in life sciences or medicine, as well as people who are familiar with big data analytics and platform technological knowledge. The employment problem that will arise, will lead the management to a strategic choice between two options: to bring in the knowledge and educate employees, or to find technical people, but they might not have the necessary knowledge and required background to execute serious platform strategy.
The educational disparity
Currently, based on market valuation, founders run 60% of the top 100 platform businesses. According to Peter Evans, we are at a tipping point: “as the platform economy expands, the recognition that you need to talk about platform business models is now becoming more widespread.” Existing businesses are realizing the need of implementing this approach and bringing in fresh talent to upskill their workforce. As Henrik points out, in order to guarantee that the entire firm is moving in the right direction, knowing what platforms are is not enough; different teams and responsibilities must be included in platform training.
Remarkably, according to the Platform Strategy Institute’s global assessment, platforms as a subject are not being proposed by a single university or business school in the world. There is a market gap that corporations and organizations are attempting to fulfill, while students are getting their knowledge on their own through online courses. “It’s going to take some time for the corporate world to understand that there’s this thing called a platform professional, that it’s an extremely interesting vocation, and that it’s a precious resource,” Peter Evans says.
This is something that Henrik’s Academy is attempting to tackle. Their target audience is often made up of young individuals who are more willing to experiment with new business methods. The Younger generation is also frequently better than senior managers in comprehending digital complexities. Henrik believes that it is unlikely for a university degree to focus only on platforms, but rather to be included into an increasing number of business degrees, tackling the complexity of platform strategy creation and business models.
United States vs Europe
Obviously, the United States has a greater number of platform unicorns than Europe. Talking about the top 100 platforms in the globe, European platforms employ just roughly 180,000 people, compared to 1.7 million in the United States. As a result, Europe lags behind, with fewer employees with direct expertise in platform operation.
In the United States, what are known as “celebrity startup CEOs” are delivering platform courses, generally on a single topic such as community development or network effects. Even though the marketplaces in the United States and Europe are distinct, with exciting ideas on both ends, Europe needs to accelerate its platform engine, with more European influencers. Governmental models and management are good examples of this.
In conclusion, while more and more executives see the opportunity of platform business models, there is still a misconception as to what it takes to develop an effective platform in terms of talents and corporate strategies.
We must address the scarcity of platform specialists as soon as possible, and there is a great potential for the educational sector to offer platform courses and meet market need.
We would like to thank Henrik and Peter, for a fascinating discussion and observations.
The entire episode is available through your preferred podcast provider.
If you wish to apply ecosystem thinking to your platform trip, we recommend starting with our Ecosystem Journey Canvas. It assists you in understanding the ecosystem, anticipating user demands, and developing an ecosystem strategy for your organization.