Schlagwort-Archive: Market

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.

Leaders have the choice

The more people work together, the more it matters to be aligned to a goal, to obey common rules and to understand each other. Collaboration nowadays not only takes place between functions, but also across the borders of the enterprises and the sectors. Thus, different values and rules collide. Complex structures with mutual relations and dependencies evolve. The coordination is a form of control as part of the leadership tasks *1. The good news is that leaders have the choice, how they coordinate.


Out of various possible mechanisms for coordination, the following provides a manageable mix of alternatives for controlling groups.

  • Market
    The introduction of market rules steers indirectly the interplay. Since all activities are connected to expenses, the contest based on supply and demand offers a quasi-automatic regulation of the options. The more alternatives are available, the smaller the costs. The rarer the offer, the higher is the price. With this approach, especially internal services that are providing cross-charged deliverables decrease the expenditures in the mid-term.
  • Agreements
    Anyagreement (e.g. contracts, policies, compliance to standards) determines the type of cooperation. The formal definition of rules guarantees early on that all involved people are clear about what is expected. Since an agreement requires the consent of all contracting parties, the interests of all are considered.
  • Partner selection
    The coordination through a conscious partner selection already defines before the actual cooperation the common rules. The appropriate selection criteria, admission rules and the desired etiquettes have to be visibly documented in advance. Thus, all involved people know what they are in for and whether they want to participate in this collaboration or not.
  • Result orientation
    The results that are agreed in as goals, synchronize all activities. This requires a consistent planning, to which the individual goals refer. The employees receive thereby a clear target and leave them with the freedom of the how-to. The HR systems for the control, the evaluation and the motivation are based on it.
  • Hierarchy
    The classical approach of leadership assigns the tasks, the authority and the responsibility to the participants on different levels. The chain of command that determines the control, the decisions and the escalation procedures is clearly defined. The superordinate level has thereby the right and the obligation to lead.
  • Linking-Pin
    Pro-active coordinators keep the projects continuously moving. The so-called linking-pins assure as overlapping contact partners the mutual exchange through management-by-walking-around. A linking-pin reaches from the driver, to the caretaker, to the supporter of the collaboration. In any case, the linking-pin functions as connection between the involved units. They are able to translate the different requirements in such a way that everybody can understand and obey.
  • Diplomacy
    One of theoldest procedures is surely the negotiating skills of diplomacy. Similar to the linking-pin, it is only activated after there is a need for coordination. In the simplest case, the exchange of ideas begins   between the involved people. However, also negotiations are organized or, in the case of crisis, mediated between the parties. A typical format is the Taskforce.

In principle, the coordination mechanisms can be used separately or arbitrarily mixed, as long as the cooperation and the goal achievement happen in the end. Since the conditions of the business are changing constantly, the hierarchy is surely the most difficult to use, since it needs a long time, in order to be established fruitfully. Linking-pins and diplomats are surely the most practical solutions in times of change and for various cultures.

*1) Additional leadership tasks are the self-management, the conception, the communication and the cooperation