AP2: Platform requirements, business models and value chains

Besides the well-known, successful examples for service- and content platforms (Amazon Marketplace, Apple Store, Google Play), worldwide there exist platform initiatives with very different value propositions and business models which are more or less successful (Smedlund 2012).

There is a high demand for research to systematize and analyze these business models and platform types in order to be able to deduce methodically and structured the demands on business models, technical architectures, technical components, management processes, interfaces, contract design and the tool support of a platform. Furthermore, there exists little secured knowledge about the necessary and beneficial metrics and measures regarding quality management and partner management.

For the construction and maintenance of this ecosystem, new partners and services have to be added in a structured process (onboarding) and after terminating the use of the platform, they have to be safely removed from the ecosystem (offboarding). These two processes comprise complex and often error-prone technical, organizational, juridical and financial sub-processes, which are difficult to be modeled and automatized using state-of-the art technology and theory. This situation leads to high personal expenses and quality problems during service operations. It needs to be researched, how to improve these processes significantly as it has been achieved in the sectors of cloud computing and next-generation datacenters.

A practice-proven and innovative mechanism to maximize the attractiveness of a platform for relevant user groups is to integrate the end users through suitable crowd sourcing- and crowd innovation processes in the further development of the platform, in the development and design of individual services and in the creation, structuring and valuation of user generated content. These processes include interviews, games, competitions, hackathons, but also thematic-centered incubators. The project will research, if and which of these measures are in principle and practical suitable for mobility services in Germany, and if and how these communities can be developed systematically.

Developer tools and libraries support service developers to conceive, implement, test, commission, operate and troubleshoot their software-based services. Today, these tools focus on experienced programmers and require a considerable training effort, so that developers typically concentrate on only one platform.

Graphical tools simplify the integration of existing services. Using so-called mashup tools developers can interactively model data and control flows between components on the basis of prefabricated building blocks, rules and templates. The project will address unsolved questions regarding the modeling of transactions, processes and more complex interaction schemes, and their solutions will be integrated according to the platform specifications.

TP2.1: API Economy and API Ecosystems
TP2.2: Crowd Sourcing and Crowd Innovation
TP2.3: Service Mashups and Developer Support
TP2.4: Business Models of Platform Providers