Increased connectivity, the digitisation of business operations, and artificial intelligence over the past decade have created an ever-changing marketplace. This has accelerated the need for companies to rapidly adapt their business models to remain competitive.
As an answer to this, the platform economy has grown rapidly in both size and significance.
By creating value through facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups, usually consumers and producers, the platform business has become one of the most sought-after organisational models for both start-up ventures and large-scale enterprises.
However, successful platform businesses are the exception – not the rule.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, platforms only have a lifespan of around 5 years, with gig economy platforms failing within the first 2 – 3 years, mainly due to lack of users or funding. These business failures can be attributed to common mistakes, such as mispricing, failure to develop trust, underestimating the competition, and late entry to market.
Sharing hard-earned lessons
Having recently celebrated its 160th year in business, Standard Bank sees 2022 as a milestone year towards achieving its 2025 ambition of becoming a platform-led organization. With the commitment still remaining firm to transform the organisation, the bank has solidified various successful partnerships and launched several pioneering platform solutions to date.
“With a century of connections spanning across continents, Standard Bank has learned invaluable lessons during our journey of transforming from a traditional financial services organisation into a platform-based business,” explains Christopher Browne, Standard Bank’s Head of Platforms, Payments, and Big Tech partnerships . “We’ve gained unmatched insights into the dynamics of platform users, as well as the challenges and opportunities that ecosystem-centric operations and partnerships pose.”
Consequently, Standard Bank decided to form another partnership. This time, with founder of Platformation Labs and best-selling author, Sangeet Choudary. The goal was to develop a guide to help businesses understand the different drivers and factors that can navigate organisations towards successfully becoming platform businesses.
“When Standard Bank approached me to co-create the Platform Paper, I was encouraged to see this idea originate from a large financial institution. In an increasingly competitive business landscape, many companies closely guard their hard-earned lessons that led to success. The fact that Standard Bank went against the grain in this regard shows a true understanding of one fundamental principle. That when it comes to platform business ecosystems, it’s about creating collective success.”
The proof is in the platform
Standard Bank has launched several successful platforms that are already yielding impressive results, such as OneFarm Share, LookSee, PowerPulse, and Shyft. In addition, several fruitful partnerships have been formed with trusted companies such as Salesforce, AWS and Microsoft.
Johan Klut, Digital Advisor for Industry Solutions at Microsoft, says: “In our engagement with Standard Bank, we have explored several critical success factors for platform businesses. For us at Microsoft, the journey to a platform business is less about the actual technology and more about the vision and process an organisation follows. It requires visionary leadership, a keen sense of tech savviness and partnership, beyond just the technology, to drive the outcomes the organisation and shareholders seek.”
The Platform Paper was published on 2 November and available here.