The next few sets of disruptive opportunities that aren’t readily obvious yet
The last article posited that pipe-based business models will continue to exist with platform-based business models. This is an important issue that both, pro-disruption and anti-disruption camps, fail to appreciate entirely. As the world gets more connected, every industry will open up opportunities for platform disruption and digital transformation. As the popular saying goes, in the future (and even now), every industry is a tech industry.
I was invited on a panel at the G20 World Summit’s Global Cafe stage last year in Brisbane to discuss the impact of platform-based business models and the opportunities that will emerge in the coming days. As a follow-up to the previous article, this article lays out key platform opportunities that I see becoming increasingly important in the days ahead.
The video from the panel is available below. Following the video, I’ve listed key insights from the discussion that, I believe, will help us identify the next big platform opportunities.
Opportunity for entrepreneurs to create and orchestrate entire markets using digital platforms: By connecting multiple stakeholders and multiple forms of demand and supply, platforms enable the creation and management of entirely new markets.
Platforms as the mechanism for delivering data-enabled services: Nest is just one of many examples of today’s shift towards data-powered digital services. Companies will increasingly launch data-absorbing products (even physical products, thanks to what we call the internet of things) and the absorbed data will serve as the basis for delivering monetizable services. Increasingly, in these models, the data will subsidize the cost of product ownership. This has a host of attendant privacy issues, as does anything related to data, but there will be several use cases where the benefit received is higher than the perceived cost of sharing data.
Reintermediation of information-intensive but highly regulated industries: Banking, healthcare and education are as information-intensive as media and telecom, that have already been disrupted. However, the transaction risks in these categories are way too high for distributed curation to work effectively.
Reorganization of supply chains on networks: Platforms are moving from matchmaking functions to large-scale coordination functions. I believe this is where the most complex problems remain to be solved, and this is where the best opportunities may emerge in the future.
Resource-intensive industries moving to platforms: Traditional resource-intensive industries like mining and oil & gas will also move towards platform approaches. We often fail to understand resource-intensive industries as information-intensive but there are a host of functions in these industries (e.g. prospecting, internal knowledge markets in large distributed organizations, equipment automation and intelligence etc.) that are information-intensive and can vastly benefit from the creation of platforms that integrate these information flows and the consequent movement of goods and services.
Platforms enable the creation of an entire ecosystem around themselves. This leads to more opportunities to solve new business problems and create more jobs. While YouTube allows anyone to run a media company and Airbnb allows anyone to run a B&B, there are a host of service providers that help the producers on these platforms do their job better. This is reminiscent of how Google as a platform spawned an entirely new set of advertising agencies in emerging markets, who no longer needed big brand contacts, but could sell Google’s advertising solutions to SMEs.
When platforms organize new ecosystems, they create new adjacent business opportunities.
Promoted posts and native monetization can be a bad idea if not done well.