The rise of borderless industry platforms

  • Posted on August 5, 2015

borderless industry platformsAn ecosystem is defined as a framework formed by the interaction of a community of elements with their physical environment. For example, the automotive industry is an example of an industrial ecosystem of manufacturers, parts suppliers, and dealers that interact with each other to enhance the overall value proposition of the end product. Similarly, the success of Apple devices has been fueled by the creation of an “apps and devices” ecosystem around its products that has helped enhance the overall customer experience.

Historically, such industrial ecosystems have been confined to the boundaries of the industry they served. However, underpinned by digital technologies like social, mobile, analytics, cloud and now the Internet of Things (IoT), the conventional industrial ecosystems are expanding beyond the enterprise boundaries i.e. they are going borderless.

Kaiser Permanente’s’ Interchange is an example of such a borderless industrial ecosystem. Interchange is an open Application Programming Interface (API) that enables internal and external developers to plug into Kaiser Permanente’s data to develop applications that improve the overall experience for both the healthcare providers and patients. Mobile applications to interact with members, in-home patient monitoring, and virtual consultation are some of the experiences that have been built on top of this API.

In essence, by providing an open API, Kaiser Permanente has created a borderless industry platform and a new plane to compete in the marketplace. As per the Accenture Technology Vision 2015 survey, 39% of executives surveyed are using industry platforms to integrate data and applications with digital business partners and collaborate, while 35% are experimenting with industry platforms. Is your enterprise a part of such an industry platform, or are you experimenting with it? If not, it is highly probable that some of your competitors are.

Building shared platforms and ensuring interoperability has always been a priority for businesses. So, how is the discussion about borderless platforms different? The answer lies in the speed of innovation enabled through rapid advances in cloud and mobility that have eliminated technology and cost barriers associated with the creation of such platforms.

Why should you consider investing in borderless industry platforms? According to IDC, industry-specific platforms will disrupt a third of the top 20 market leaders in most industries by 2018. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study says that in 2013, 14 of the top 30 global brands by market capitalization were platform-oriented companies. By applying the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, these platform based companies have not only created a competitive advantage for themselves but also improved the overall outcome for the customer, and in some cases created new revenue streams.

Just like the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s redefined the industrial ecosystem around us, the digital revolution of today is disrupting industries by defining new value propositions and outcomes that customers themselves did not know were important.

We encourage you to reconsider the boundaries of your industry and see how those boundaries can be broken to increase the overall value proposition for your customers.

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