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Platform Provider by Accident: A Case Study of Digital Platform Coring
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics. (Swedish Center for Digital Innovation)
2016 (English)In: Business & Information Systems Engineering, ISSN 1867-0202, Vol. 58, no 3, 177-191 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent years have witnessed the rapid emergence of digital technology as not just an enabler, but indeed a material basis for platform development. However, extant platform literature does not adequately address strategies related to digital platforms. Specifically, the notion of platform coring does not consider how a core is to be identified or the nature of a core in relation to entangled physical and digital materiality. This paper presents a single-case study of a digital platform for business-to-business services. Results suggest that rather than a specific platform element, the core of a digital platform may be described as a capability to harness the potential of digital technology. Furthermore, platform coring may be aided by adopting value propositions as a means to conceptualize the process of negotiating mutual benefit among platform stakeholders. This study contributes to the understanding of digital platform establishment as it addresses the notion of coring and the emergent process related to the distributed ontology of digital technology and a situated perception of value.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 58, no 3, 177-191 p.
Keyword [en]
Digital platforms, Platform establishment, Platform coring, Service-orientation, Value proposition, Case study
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120269DOI: 10.1007/s12599-016-0426-4ISI: 000377899300003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-120269DiVA: diva2:927757
Available from: 2016-05-13 Created: 2016-05-13 Last updated: 2017-02-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. An inquiry into the nature and causes of digital platforms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An inquiry into the nature and causes of digital platforms
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

While the shape and nature of platforms varies across different instances, they pursue common ambitions such as reduction of risk, complexity, or transaction costs. Although initially theorised in industrial contexts, subsequent theorising regarding platform development, platform ecosystems, and platform strategy has drawn upon studies of high-tech industries in general and IT-based platforms in particular. While the inherent malleability of digitised data and digital technology offers possibilities, they also make it difficult to pin down the locus of a low-variety platform core. As such, one of the fundamental properties of digital platforms is rather mundane: to provide stability. With that in mind, this thesis pursues the following research question: How can a digital platform maintain stability for its stakeholders in the face of constant technical change? This thesis utilises affordance theory as a means to operationalise a relational view of digital platform, where stability is assessed in relation to stakeholders rather than technical persistence. This dissertation is based on an interpretive case study, primarily using qualitative data in the form of interviews gathered as part of two separate projects that varied both in scope and orientation. The thesis offers two main contributions. First, the idea of platform stability as derived from low-variety components that are persistent over time is difficult to apply in relation to digital platforms. Rather, we need to approach stability as a composite property, based on the ability of the platform to satisfy technical-, informational-, and social expectations. Hence, stability should not be considered as a fixed or absolute property, but rather a moving target. Second, this thesis suggests that the existing notion of (technical) coring needs to be complemented with information coring and social coring when applied to digital platforms. The proposed concept of information coring expresses the ability to hide complexity and present bottom-line results to the user in a comprehensible manner. Social coring refers to the idea of aligning technical integration and social integration in a platform. A relational perspective applied to digital platforms offers a possible avenue for theorising digital platforms as information systems artefacts rather than the dichotomous relationship between platform-as-architecture and platform-as-marketplace found in extant literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2016. 118 p.
Series
Research reports in informatics, ISSN 1401-4572 ; RR-16.02
Keyword
Digital platform, platform strategy, platform development, stability, affordance theory, qualitative study
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-127430 (URN)978-91-7601-600-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-07, MA121, MIT-building, Umeå University, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-11-16 Created: 2016-11-11 Last updated: 2016-11-16Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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