Vertical Industry Platforms – Importance of Vision Alignment

In a recent benchmarking study looking at companies exploring vertical industry technology platforms that leverage the power of cloud (XaaS) & Big Data to transform existing value and supply chains and change the axes of competition, we identified a range of key criteria that helped to define market success, including:

  1. Vision and Objectives

  2. Nature of the offering

  3. Organizational Context

  4. Marketplace

  5. Economics

Our work covered a diverse range of industries from financial services, building automation, health care, commercial aviation, automotive to name a few. Across each of these industries and examples we noticed a number of common themes.

Most successful companies have developed a clear view of, and commitment to, their vision for the platform and what it represented for the business. In all cases senior management understands the critical imperative to pursue the Platform opportunity, they ‘get’ the TAM, and they are fully committed to a phased go to market strategy and roll-out, and a long-term governance process, to ensure a successful outcome.

In addition, all of the successful players are leveraging an open approach, this includes a focus on delivering an open, market neutral platform, and ensuring the free and open flow of core data. Benchmarks are not concerned with vendor lock-in as they are able to influence vendors as needed to align to their specific requirements.

In working with companies in this area, we are further learning to underscore that, a vertical platform cannot effectively be developed without senior management buy-in. Without it the initiative will dissipate.

Finally, in many cases the platform is just as important as an agent of change to drive transformation of existing business practices (improving and protecting the base business) as it is a growth driver intended to create new applications and services (growth outside of the base business).

In future posts, we will address the vertical platform space further, including additional benchmark work that we conducted and select case studies. Please stay tuned.

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