Schlagwort-Archive: Platform

More agile with platforms

It is not sufficient to have a promising business idea. There are many hurdles to overcome before the actual work begins. In the days of Henry Ford it worked out well, as soon as you mastered the entire value chain. Meanwhile, the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. Today, the one-hundred percent vertical integration is being replaced by a very low percentage – at the SMART plant in Hambach, France, it amounts to ten percent. Digitization will lead to even flatter vertical integration. These become possible, when the many tasks are spread across many shoulders. Platforms provide such shoulders.

It does not matter, whether we are talking about different platforms or one that contains all the necessary functions. With the following offers tomorrow’s entrepreneurs can focus on their actual business model.

  • Technology
    The fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is driven by the opportunities of network-based ICT – cyber-physical systems, big data, cloud services, 3D manufacturing, embedded technologies, etc. The use of these offerings cannot be avoided. However, you do not have to take care of all aspects anymore. These tasks have been taken over by platforms that provide these services in a user-friendly way.
  • Operating system
    The term was created in the field of IT. The operating system combines different components into a functioning whole. Under the slogan XaaS (Everything as a Service), today platforms are being provided in an application-oriented way – from infrastructure, to production facilities, to special applications that are used when required and paid only then.
  • Area of ​​Expertise
    In 10 main occupational groups you will find the different professions, each responsible for specific areas. The specialization of the individual areas provides today a vast amount of practical experiences that can be used without the need that one has to familiarize oneself with the respective area. The fourth revolution will lead to more and more platforms, where experts offer their deliverables as a service.
  • Network
    The current networks are websites where producers and consumers meet on a platform provided by a broker in order to offer a certain service – UBER, AIRBnB, Paypal, Ebay etc. In the future, exclusive biztopes will emerge, where selected participants support each other in their business. The Henry Ford of today shares his means of production on a platform with his competitors and stands out in speed, good ideas and versatility.
  • Market
    The place to trade has always been determined by the goods and services that have been exchanged, as well as by geographical features. An overlap of markets rarely took place. Today’s markets are just a click away from every user. Therefore on the one hand one is quickly at the point of action, but on the other hand one is also exposed to all offers. The benefits of the classic marketplace, with its reference points and regulations, are already being exploited by platforms where sellers and buyers meet at auctions – eg. Covisint, SupplyOn.
  • Niche
    The little sister of a market is the niche that forms in the corners, where big markets do not expect much revenue. Through the Internet, this niche is as reachable as the big market. Depending on the success of the niche, it can quickly develop into a market and cover with its platform more and more areas.
  • Business model
    In a modular world, the actual business models use pods (i.e. small, autonomous units that develop value-add) that are needs-oriented created and eventually resolved when they fulfilled their purpose. The required resources are drawn from the various platforms (see above) on an expenditures basis (pay-per-use). The costs are created by integrating the technology, the operating system, the area of expertise, the network, the market and one’s own niche. If the results are correct, then over time the users will optimize the interaction with the platforms.

Bottom line: The start of a new business model no longer requires the immense preparation by building the necessary technology, a coherent operating system, the experience of a specialist area, the lengthy development of a network, the development of a market or its own niche. Platforms allow start-ups or new businesses to focus on designing their core competencies. Platforms make businesses more agile.


Companies that already exist and grew for a long time mastered many challenges – changed market requirements, new technologies, and various cooperation styles. Over time these companies developed a custom-made armor of rules and stipulations of organizational structures and procedures, which should cover, if possible, every eventuality. As the armament of a knight meant an additional weight of 30 kg, the enterprises also carry around enormous ballast of guidelines. Even if this armor is adapted to the proportions of its user, it limits the mobility and thus creates certain fragility. How to get rid off the “Fr”?

An armament consists of different metal plates that were forged for certain parts of the body of a distinct person – the helmet, the piece of chest, the arm things, the thigh cover, the elbow, the knee piece, the leg tube and much more. Also the enterprise develops internally regulations for its different areas. In order to become agile it is crucial, to consider the following aspects.

  • Vision
    The picture of an ideal, in the future agile state of the enterprise forms the basis for the renouncement of over years developed, detailed determinations. The vision is built upon the ideal employee conception, the other resources and the customer-oriented cooperation. The elements that obstruct this vision have to be dissolved.
  • Convictions
    All involved people developed by and by mindsets that disturb the agilization. The employees have to let the expectation go that they have to be motivated, trained and assigned from the outside. The managers must let go that they directly steer, control, and sanction the employees. The magic word of the future is self-organization.
  • Intrinsic motivation
    In order to keep the momentum in an enterprise, appropriate extrinsic rewards and incentives were developed – the payment, the bonus, the career, and the training. In self-organization other incentives that drive the employee from the inside become important – the satisfaction to accomplish an activity, to have a skill, being able to satisfy one’s curiosity or to be able to reach a personal purpose with the activity.
  • Trust
    The company owners have to carry out the greatest deal of trust. They can’t avoid to give up the direct influence and to believe that the internal society, the employees, steer the economic fate in such a way that the enterprise remains economically viable and lucrative. The confidence that the intrinsic motivation guarantees the necessary employee interaction and that way productive results appear spontaneously is the pre-requisite for the fact that the employees after all get the chance to prove themselves.
  • Organizational openness
    To open the existing chain mail, in order to let evolve the possibility for self-organized networking and team building, requires great courage. The corporate DNA is burned into the consciousness of the employees in such a way that it requires a large effort to get away from the cherished sense of security. One company and two approaches require neutral zones, where the employees can try themselves out, without having to follow the established, old way.
  • Governance
    The introduction of a fundamental set of rules that describes briefly and easy to understand the new principles, the ways of alignment, the common view and clear tasks, authority and responsibility, is an important pre-requisite. It is conceivable to introduce special areas, as China did with its special economic zones (e.g. Shenzhen, Hainan, and Hong Kong). In this area completely new approaches can be tested – Holacracy, pods, platforms.
  • Platform
    Self-organized units are focused on their topic. Repeating activities and generally needed services disturb thereby. For this reason, it is smart to liberate the teams from certain basic tasks. The bundling of these items in a platform increases the effectiveness of the units. In the platform you can find standardized procedures and tools as a service – IT, infrastructure, logistics, etc.

In the course (Fr)agility, the employees consist not only of the executing people, but also the steering ones, the so-called management. The upcoming loss of power that results from the self-organization is the largest challenge, since guidance results in the future out of context and no more from the classical career. The person will lead, who inspires and engages people at most and no more the best adapted careerist.

Bottom line: The (Fr)agility of companies is determined by the armament that limits the mobility. This includes the structures and procedures, the established set of rules that tries to regulate every detail. In order to create the transformation to an agile organization, it needs a vision, common convictions, an intrinsic motivation, trust, an organizational openness, governance and a common platform that is available for the agile units. The agility is threatened by those, who loose the most – the leaders. For this reason, they need perspectives that show them opportunities for survival.