Platform Ecosystems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780124080669, 9780124080546

Platform Ecosystems

1st Edition

Aligning Architecture, Governance, and Strategy

Authors: Amrit Tiwana
eBook ISBN: 9780124080546
Paperback ISBN: 9780124080669
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 2nd December 2013
Page Count: 300
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Platform Ecosystems is a hands-on guide that offers a complete roadmap for designing and orchestrating vibrant software platform ecosystems. Unlike software products that are managed, the evolution of ecosystems and their myriad participants must be orchestrated through a thoughtful alignment of architecture and governance.
Whether you are an IT professional or a general manager, you will benefit from this book because platform strategy here lies at the intersection of software architecture and business strategy. It offers actionable tools to develop your own platform strategy, backed by original research, tangible metrics, rich data, and cases. You will learn how architectural choices create organically-evolvable, vibrant ecosystems. You will also learn to apply state-of-the-art research in software engineering, strategy, and evolutionary biology to leverage ecosystem dynamics unique to platforms. Read this book to learn how to:

  • Evolve software products and services into vibrant platform ecosystems
  • Orchestrate platform architecture and governance to sustain competitive advantage
  • Govern platform evolution using a powerful 3-dimensional framework

If you’re ready to transform platform strategy from newspaper gossip and business school theory to real-world competitive advantage, start right here!

Key Features

  • Understand how architecture and strategy are inseparably intertwined in platform ecosystems
  • Architect future-proof platforms and apps and amplify these choices through governance 
  • Evolve platforms, apps, and entire ecosystems into vibrant successes and spot platform opportunities in almost any—not just IT—industry


IT professionals responsible for creating and managing: (a) software-based platforms and (b) apps for those platforms.

Table of Contents



Part I: The Rise of Platforms


Chapter 1. The Rise of Platform Ecosystems


In This Chapter

1.1 The war of ecosystems

1.2 Platform ecosystems

1.3 Drivers of the migration toward platforms

1.4 Lessons learned


Chapter 2. Core Concepts and Principles


In This Chapter

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Core concepts

2.3 Guiding principles

2.4 Lessons learned


Chapter 3. Why Platform Businesses Are Unlike Product or Service Businesses


In This Chapter

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Why platforms need a different mindset

3.3 How products and services can evolve into platforms

3.4 Lessons learned


Chapter 4. The Value Proposition of Platforms


In This Chapter

4.1 Platform owners

4.2 App developers

4.3 End-Users

4.4 Lessons learned


Part II: Architecture and Governance


Chapter 5. Platform Architecture


In This Chapter

5.1 How unemployed hairdressers became France’s mathematical champions

5.2 Complexity: the Achilles heel of platforms

5.3 The two functions of ecosystem architecture

5.4 Ecosystem architecture

5.5 Four desirable properties of platform architectures

5.6 Modularity of architectures

5.7 Goldilocks strikes again

5.8 Two mechanisms for modularization

Chapter summary


Chapter 6. Platform Governance


In This Chapter

6.1 Platform governance as the blueprint for ecosystem orchestration

6.2 Three dimensions of platform governance

6.3 Aligning governance

Chapter summary


Part III: Dynamics and Metrics of Ecosystem Evolution


Chapter 7. Metrics of Evolution


In This Chapter

7.1 Three roles of evolutionary metrics

7.2 Three guiding principles

7.3 An overview of metrics of evolution in platform ecosystems

7.4 Short-term metrics of evolution

7.5 Medium-term metrics of evolution

7.6 Long-term metrics of evolution

7.7 Lessons learned


Chapter 8. Real Options Thinking in Ecosystem Evolution


In This Chapter

8.1 An introduction to real options thinking

8.2 Volatility in technologies and markets

8.3 Types of real options

8.4 Applying real options thinking in practice

8.5 Exercising real options: the devil is in the details

8.6 Lessons learned


Chapter 9. Modular Operators: Platform Ecosystems’ Evolutionary Baby Steps

In This Chapter

9.1 An overview of modular operators

9.2 Lessons learned


Part IV: Orchestrating Evolution


Chapter 10. Evolving a Platform


In This Chapter

10.1 The bathtub model: ecosystem innovation as stocks and flows

10.2 Orchestrating platform evolution: a preview

10.3 Orchestrating Short-Term platform evolution

10.4 Orchestrating Medium-Term platform evolution

10.5 Orchestrating Long-Term platform evolution

10.6 Lessons learned


Chapter 11. Evolving an App


In This Chapter

11.1 Dynamics of platform markets

11.2 The Eureka moment and the origin of apps

11.3 How app microarchitecture shapes app evolvability

11.4 Evolving an app: a preview

11.5 Evolving an app in the short term

11.6 Evolving an app in the medium term

11.7 Evolving an app in the long term

11.8 Lessons learned


Part V: The Road Ahead


Chapter 12. Every Product Is a Platform Waiting to Happen


In This Chapter

12.1 Idea 1: migration to ecosystem competition

12.2 Idea 2: ecosystem orchestration drives evolutionary survival

12.3 Idea 3: Orchestration Requires Interlocking of Ecosystem Architecture and Governance


About the Author





No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2014
Morgan Kaufmann
eBook ISBN:
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About the Author

Amrit Tiwana

Amrit Tiwana is a professor of MIS in the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He has also held joint appointments in computer science and management departments, giving him a unique vantage point to author Platform Ecosystems. Professor Tiwana also advises in the United States, Europe, and Japan industry consortia, government agencies, and major technology companies such as IBM, UPS, NTT Japan, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsui, Mitsubishi Electric, Sumitomo Steel, Kansai Electric, Sony, Eli Lilly & Company, Japan Electronics and IT Industry Association, and Finland’s INFORTE. Platform Ecosystems builds on recent research developments in information systems, software engineering, and business strategy. Professor Tiwana has been a direct contributor to research in peer-reviewed journals in all three fields. Dr. Tiwana is the best-selling author of The Knowledge Management Toolkit (Prentice Hall), which is translated into several foreign languages, widely used in business schools, and has continuously been in print since it first appeared 15 years ago. He received his doctorate from Georgia State University.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia


Platform Ecosystems provides an extremely innovative and insightful approach to decode the value creation of  platforms and apps. Amrit Tiwana has written a very provocative guide that will help every executive to reconsider their firms' strategic position and potential to deliver products and services via platforms. A must-read for anyone interested in the next generation business.  – Eric van Heck, Professor of Information Management and Markets, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

In “Platform Ecosystems,” Amrit Tiwana delivers a most timely and in-depth perspective of this exciting topic. Ecosystems are at the heart of all modern economic activity and the most powerful known ecosystems have a “platform” at their core, driven by a strong player leading their ecosystem, inviting and mutually boosting the value-add by other players. The combinatorial multipliers of successful ecosystem lead to the competition of entire ecosystems. Understanding the key drivers and mechanisms of platform ecosystems is critically important when contemplating competitive strategies.   – Clemens Szyperski, Microsoft

Ratings and Reviews