Over the past decade, organizations that leverage the power of platform business models have grown significantly. Digitalization of products, services and business processes is reshaping the global landscape and platform ecosystems. The potential of the “Platform model” of doing business has been disruptive to traditional approaches like the “Pipeline model.” The latter looks at value being created by controlling a linear series of activities; value flows from the inside to the outside. The Platform model, on the other hand, looks at connecting participants in two-sided markets – generating value for both groups. The Platform model brings together producers and consumers in high-value exchanges. As the number of participants on each side grows, the value generated increases exponentially.

The Pipeline Model – Value flows from Inside to Outside

Opportunities have so far been addressed in a linear model. Value is conveyed one to one or in some cases, one to many.

You, as the provider conveys, from your own or managed resources, the value you identify as needed by your clients. This model relies on increasing internal capability to enable increased and enhanced offerings. Like a hotel chain having to build more rooms or a fleet operator adding more vehicles.

Pipeline Vs. Platform – Elements of a Successful Platform Strategy

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In my last blog, I discussed how digital transformation has become the most important element of any business evolution. I explained how telcos offer a wide range of services that cater around its core business, which makes it a perfect example of a “Digital Lifestyle Provider.”

Now, let’s take the example of the government sector. Governments can also monetize APIs through different ways, which may not be just limited to utilities but sharing the information in a secured way like providing citizen information to banks and financial institutions, travel agencies, law enforcement agencies, visa verification agencies, etc. So, governments can not only offer citizen services through mobile apps but also can use the citizen data for other value added services by partnering with several private enterprises or government agencies.

Exposing Government APIs through a secured API Gateway

Figure: Example of Government as Lifestyle Providers

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Previously I wrote about the process to extend an ecosystem to include connected devices; collection, connection, crafting and combination, now I’ll address other areas that are crucial to ensuring that any services that are developed are dependable as well as useful.

IoT Blog Graphic - Part 2


What about quality control?

Unfortunately, it’s not only a case of orchestration, analytics and API exposure. To guarantee the quality of service there are a whole host of other related issues that need to be managed, mostly around the task of making sure all the components involved are working as expected, making sure that there is a robustness to them, and that the proper control mechanisms are in place to support the expected volume of calls to use the service. Without these, no one calling upon the exposed services can really depend on it, so they will be less willing to incorporate a call to it as part of their own processes. It’s about building a level of trustworthiness in what you are providing.

Some of this may involve tools, for example, for error handling and recovery or for application monitoring, other may be purely policies such as data management and backup policies. It may well be that your organisation has many of these controls and functional abilities in place already, but I’d suggest that these could be impacted by adding device data, certainly when it comes to having to deal with the new volumes and velocities of data. It could be here that you start to review the chain of the sources of data and discover areas of weakness or gaps in capabilities.

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With today’s focus on the role of ecosystems and the Internet of Everything, Integration, API management and Big Data are all key tools. We can begin to combine data from these new devices with existing sources of data to build new services, based on this combination of ecosystem and device. We can also provide a way to allow other organisations to find and use those services that have been developed.

Ecosystems?

First, just to describe what I mean by an ecosystem. All organisations have an existing set of functions, capabilities and data that describes them. Much of this is supported by standard applications that are common today: ERP, customer management systems, supply chain management. But it's rare that an organisation will own all the functions that they use themselves. They are much more likely to have certain functions supplied by one or more specialist providers, so the organisation needs to have access and insight into the activities of their partners and suppliers. By using interfaces to access them, the organisation can treat these as an extension of their core business. What we can propose is to extend the same approach to connected devices and objects, anything in fact that can create data may be useful. When device data is combined with existing data sources you can create something new with its own value and use it to build a new service. This might be only of use to the organisation themselves, but may have the potential to be part of a product offering that can be sold as a capability to others.

The process

IoT Blog Graphic

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When you go to any specialist, a doctor for example, the quality of the advice you’ll receive will depend on how much relevant information you share. If there is a level of trust between the two parties, sharing correct and up-to-date information will increase the chance of the best result.

open-data-infrastructure

As part of the case for Open Data as a part of the wider API based economy, it will not be enough to only share data with public bodies or commercial partners, but there will also be the need to verify the quality of data and to ensure that the correct permissions to access someone's data has been given and that these take into account where and when that data is used or combined with other sources of data.

A business collects many types of data from a customer and they may consider that to be their own asset, but that business may need to get permission to use and share that data, particularly when that is related to health or personal financial matters. This could be data that is generated by a customer over time through the usage of a service and from the interactions they have with different organisations, including recording their location.

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