Whether Amazon or Alibaba, Spotify, Uber, Airbnb, Apple or Facebook: The Platform Economy is transforming business-to-consumer (B2C) markets at a rapid pace. Without even owning a vehicle, an apartment or a song, platform providers have made the initiation of business contacts between providers and demanders their business model. The intermediaries are now worth much more on stock exchanges than global media groups, car manufacturers or hotel chains. Thanks to strong brands, they are the first port of call for Connected Customers all over the world when they are looking for vacation accommodation, want to stream music or movies, or just want to do their shopping. The most successful providers are characterized by digitally optimized order processing, simple and transparent payment processes, and intelligent data analyses, on the basis of which they can align their services and offers ever more precisely to customer needs and satisfy them optimally. In an increasingly digital society, Platform Economy players are conquering one B2C industry after another. Even if there are critical tones, the openness of end consumers to the use of digital platforms is increasing. As centers of agglomeration on the World Wide Web, they are attracting not only customers but also more and more providers - further fueling the rapid growth of platforms.
Comparable trends can be observed in the print community. For example, the first major online print stores are supplementing their platforms by bringing their customers together with external providers of graphics, design, text and other creative services. To do this, they sometimes cooperate with crowdsourcing or crowdworking platforms. Establishing platforms to provide their own customers with convenient access to external expertise is also a trend among technology providers. Ideally, ecosystems are created that network established companies and creative startups, in which innovation partners can be found for the development of new digital business models, and on which external partners offer apps that support users in the evaluation and intelligent use of collected machine and process data.
Ultimately, the aim is to stimulate the exchange of complementary expertise on such platforms. Where partners learn from and with each other and exchange their respective perspectives on the opportunities and risks of digitization projects, they increase their digital readiness. This includes questioning methods that have been practiced for many years and opening up to digital workflows that are often agile. Because it is evident across many industries that competition is increasingly being fought over how effectively providers refine data into information that brings them and their customers the greatest benefit. If you don't get to grips with this, you won't be able to shape the innovation process, which is now so often taking place in fast motion, but rather will be overtaken by it in the long term. As a cross-industry megatrend, the path to the Platform Economy harbors many imponderables. However, it is already clear today that there is no way around the rapid development of digital competencies for companies.