ECIS 2020 Research Papers


Digital platform ecosystems have recently risen in relevance and popularity. With the diffusion of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), born digital actors as well as traditional “pipeline firms” engage in platform ecosystems. This study explores the challenges perceived by industrial-age firms when building a platform ecosystem for the IoT. Using a Delphi study, we analyze experts’ perceptions of the challenges’ content and priority. Our results reveal that whereas experts raise a broad variety of challenges, they prioritize only three key themes: (1) learning the new rules of platform ecosystem strategies, (2) coping with the emerging hybridity challenge, and (3) developing the internal readiness for platform ecosystems. These insights inform us about platform ecosystem actors’ challenging interplay between their strategy’s content uncertainty and their difficulties in building the required mind-set and capabilities to implement such uncertain strategies. While this finding is valid for all platform ecosystem actors, we also reveal the unique struggles of incumbent firms to cope with the tensions provided by their heritage and hybridity. We show how industrial-age firms hereby overemphasize the negative consequences and potentially fail to leverage synergies. Further, our findings highlight how priorities in industry and emphasis in academic literature deviate.



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