Re: How CIOs Can Prepare For The Platform Economy
As I began reading this article, I was a bit puzzled - lots of buzzwords flying around without definitions attached, and dismissals of what seemed like obvious points; are AirBnB's or Uber's smartphone apps not 'products' ? Could the backend systems that help their users pay and get paid, etc., not be called 'services?'. But, as I read on, it became clear what these folks were talking about. Just as you said near the top, Joe, it's not 'only' about Products and Services - it's about the platforms they sit on top of - that connect the users to them, and to each other, too. It definitely represents a key shift in the way that modern businesses make their money. For startups (like Pandora once was), it can be about finding a gap that exists in current business models, while for someone like McCormick, it can tie back to decades of existing products and expertise.
The platform economy can be a minefield. Even without monetizing, it can be difficult to get users to try something new, or to stick around. People like what they use already. Look at Steam - it has competitors, but most people couldn't name them. You have to have something really special, and a bit of luck. The less users you have, the harder it is to attract new ones. As for having the users drive the content, think about this - if what your users do for you is more like work and less like fun, you might consider letting them monetize it. Now you're a whole different kind of platform - look at Uber, Youtube, etc. as extreme examples - but, that can backfire if it's not the kind of content people want to pay for. The CIO is instrumental here in explaining how the models work to the business, where the technology comes in, what should be in-housed vs outsourced, and more. There's a lot to chew on.