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Successful Enterprise-Based Platform Businesses

Business Models; Assessing Performance and Value

In this research we will ask how an enterprise can create and run a successful platform business. We define a platform business as creating a competitive advantage through a world-class digital service and reusing it internally, externally, or both. Platform businesses scale differently from traditional businesses, as the marginal cost of adding a customer is quite small but the upfront platform development costs are quite large. In conversations and observations with many organizations, we hypothesize there are four important business models for enterprise-based platform businesses.

  1. Double-sided platforms, such as at Amazon, where both customers and service providers use the platform and the owner acts as an intermediary.
  2. Platform businesses solutions, such as at UNICEF, mBank, and Arkik, where the organization develops an internal world-class capability and then sells the platform to commercial customers who run it themselves. The sale is often made via an intermediary or a technology business subsidiary.
  3. Platform as a service (PaaS), such as at ANZ, which sells anti-money laundering as a service to corporate clients. After developing a world-class platform for internal use, the enterprise sells the capability as services, typically on a multitenant basis on premises or in the cloud. The revenue generated helps develop the platform further.
  4. Platform reuse, such as at DBS and Standard Bank, which have each developed a series of platforms for one area/business unit but are reusing them across the enterprise.

This study will include a series of case vignettes and new analysis of data MIT CISR collected from 721 companies globally in October 2023.

We will focus on the following research questions:

  • What are the most important business models for an enterprise-based platform business?
  • What are the performance impacts for companies that excel on each platform business model?
  • What are the critical capabilities for each of the models?
  • How does effective governance and participation vary across the models?

SEEKING: We are seeking participation in the research from MIT CISR member organizations to workshop the ideas. Then we will collect data and identify case vignettes.

CONTACT: Stephanie Woerner


Stephanie L. Woerner, Director and Principal Research Scientist

Stephanie’s work focuses on how enterprises use technology and data to create more effective business models and how they manage the associated organizational change. She has a passion for measuring hard-to-assess digital factors and linking them to firm performance.

Peter Weill, Chairman and Senior Research Scientist

Peter’s work centers on the role, value, and governance of digitization in enterprises and their ecosystems. Peter’s current responsibilities include the globalization of MIT CISR’s research and sponsorship base and engagement with senior executive teams.

Ina M. Sebastian, Research Scientist

Ina studies how large enterprises transform for success in the digital economy. Her current research areas are digital partnering—including strategies to grow with digital partners and partnering strength—and value creation and value capture in digital models.

Related Publications

MIT CISR research is funded by the more than seventy-five member organizations that support our work and participate in our consortium. 

MIT CISR Patrons
Pegasystems Inc.
The Ogilvy Group
MIT CISR Sponsors
Alcon Vision
ANZ Banking Group (Australia)
Banco Bradesco S.A. (Brazil)
Banco do Brasil S.A.
Bank of Queensland (Australia)
Barclays (UK)
BlueScope Steel (Australia)
BNP Paribas (France)
Caterpillar, Inc.
Cemex (Mexico)
Cochlear Limited (Australia)
Commonwealth Superannuation Corp. (Australia)
Cuscal Limited (Australia)
CVS Health
Dawn Foods
DBS Bank Ltd. (Singapore)
Doosan Corporation (Korea)
Fidelity Investments
Fomento Economico Mexicano, S.A.B., de C.V.
Fortum (Finland)
Gilbane Building Co.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
Kaiser Permanente
King & Wood Mallesons (Australia)
Koç Holding (Turkey)
Nasdaq, Inc.
NN Insurance Eurasia NV
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (Japan)
Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. Systems Consulting Division (Japan)
Novo Nordisk A/S (Denmark)
OCP Group
Pacific Life Insurance Company
Posten Bring AS (Norway)
Principal Life Insurance Company
Ramsay Health Care (Australia)
Scentre Group Limited (Australia)
Schneider Electric Industries SAS (France)
Stockland (Australia)
Tabcorp Holdings (Australia)
Telstra Limited (Australia)
Terumo Corporation (Japan)
Tetra Pak (Sweden)
Truist Financial Corporation
UniSuper Management Pty Ltd (Australia)
Uniting (Australia)
Webster Bank, N.A.
Westpac Banking Corporation (Australia)
WestRock Company
Wolters Kluwer
Xenco Medical
Zoetis Services LLC

MIT CISR Associate Members

MIT CISR wishes to thank all of our associate members for their support and contributions.

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