Anthea Stratigos – July 18, 2016
The countdown continues with the top 15 keys every CEO and their team needs for success beyond the tipping point – the theme of Outsell’s 10th Anniversary Signature Event.
To be or not to be. That’s really the existential question facing most information and media companies these days. Picking up where we last left off, having a strategy and plan to be (or not to be) a platform based business in our industry is our 3rd key to Success beyond the tipping point.
Platform is like content – a word everyone bandies about with multiple meanings and few making distinctions necessary to ensure we’re talking about the same thing. Outsell defines a platform as a software-driven content solution or workflow solution that allows users to get key functions done and UPON which they can manage their own data, other third party data AND even consider opening it up to THEIR customers. They can also be a place where others can come to run their businesses; off the backs of someone else’s content enabled infrastructure. It’s an ecosystem. It typically has scale or scalable attributes.
In tech Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook are platforms. Microsoft depending on what it does with LinkedIn will also be one. But probably the best example of one is Salesforce. They have software, they have content (their own via their acquisition of Jigsaw now Data.com) they have third party developers, and an entire ecosystem of app developers, and they allow users to perform a key function and integrate their own sales data along with potentially other 3rd party data. It’s powerful, it’s scalable and it’s hard to rip out once you’ve embedded it into the organization and they’ve grown reliant on it. Oracle has elements of a platform but not in the same way. Adobe? Maybe, but again not quite in the same way.
But often I wonder, where the platforms with information industry roots are. There are many companies that have the potential to be platforms – Bloomberg, anyone? Lexis? Gartner? Pearson? D&B in risk?
Any company that owns a sector at scale has the ability to open up their ecosystem to a) let others develop apps for it, b) let customers put in in their own content or their own licensed content, or even let their customers use it. But we see little examples of this. In our opinion one of the companies with the mindset and potential to pull this off is Thomson Reuters. Will they? Won’t they? That’s up to them. But we couldn’t think of anyone better to join us at Outsell’s Signature Event to explore this topic than David Craig, President, Financial & Risk, at Thomson Reuters who will be our 3rd keynote at the event.
Now small companies can become platforms too if they have deep, rich, expertise and brand reputation, but they’ll have to ensure they’re developing and delivering on a scalable platform, and open to adding 3rd party open web and licensed data. Letting customers add in their own content and ensuring it’s a place to go to work each day for customers to do something useful. And ultimately they will have to let developers build on their platform or give others the opportunity to run their business on the environment to really be a platform.
Choose your market, go deep, build a scalable platform, then let others operate in it, or join it, or embed their content in it, including customers and potentially their customers or OTHERS who want to reach your market.
Otherwise, recognize that an information industry company’s place will be embedded in someone else’s platform. There can be 1, 2, max 3 in a space. So it’s to be or not to be. Go platform or go home and plan to license your content, plan to make your interface irrelevant and build APIs to get to markets you’ll no longer serve or who will no longer have you unless you are embedded in their internal portals with a single interface and log IN or are wrapped into someone else’s key decision-support tool.
We can’t wait to discuss this essential topic at Outsell’s 10th Anniversary Signature Event. Register today. It’s one of the most important questions a leader has to have a plan for and no better person to learn from and engage with than Mr. Craig.
Up next – Key to Success #4 – Can’t wait – Register now and we’ll look forward to seeing you in London October 5-7. Space is limited and it’s the don’t-miss event for CEOs in the global information industry JOIN us today.