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An Overview and Framework
for Postal Platforms
September 19, 2013
Outline
● The concept of platforms
 What is a platform? Why are we talking about them today?
 Examples of commercial platforms & ecosystems
● How to apply this concept to the Postal, Mailing & Shipping
industry
 Postal ecosystem and infrastructure
 A postal platform: Why and How?
 Next Steps
2
Concept of platform
3
Concept of Platforms
● Business model
 Bringing revenue
 Bringing innovation
 Managing risk
● Infrastructure
 Operating system, distribution system
● Applications that interact with users
● Rules of the game
● Network effects
4
Microsoft versus Apple
1981-1997
● Apple launched the personal computer market but Microsoft
licensed widely, building a huge developer ecosystem. By
the time of the antitrust trial, Microsoft had more than 6
times the number of developers.
5
Developer
Ecosystem
Apple versus Microsoft: Key
Business Model Difference
6
Apple Mac
Users Claris
Mac OS
• Charged ~$10,000 for SDKs(*).
• Controlled OS & HW and dominant Apps.
• Vertical integration choked network effects
Apple Microsoft
• Microsoft had 6-10X developers
• Open APIs / Cheap SDKs
• Controlled OS, licensed.
• Strong network effects.
Users Dvprs
MS Windows
Dell IBM … HPProviders
Sponsor
(*) Software Development Kit
Microsoft versus Apple
1998-2009
7
● Using a platform strategy, Apple becomes the most
valuable tech firm in the US, representing $310Bn to
Microsoft’s $204Bn. Chart shows % growth.
“I sell songs in order
to sell phones”
Network
Effects
Network Effects
Users (Demand)
● Consumers of the platform services; they can
be individuals, businesses, organizations, etc.
Users (Solution Developers)
● They provide product or services that attract
users to the platform – information, services,
answers, music, games,
Providers
● The contact point for users and value-added
providers. Providers offer common platform
components and define rules to facilitate the
services.
Sponsors
● Responsible for the overall organizing structure
for the platform: the rules and governance of
the ecosystem. May control the underlying
platform technology and IP rights.
8
Sponsor
Provider
Users
(Demand)
Users
(Developers)
Microsoft & Apple
9
Today, Apple is a PlatformToday, Microsoft is a Platform
Other examples
10
• Evolved from a single purpose application
• Android & Chrome operating systems,
Docs, Gmail, Calendar, and Chrome
browser,
• Droid phone, Android tablets,
Chromebook, and Music Store
• Google Books, Product Search,
Checkout, Wallet, and Cloud Computing.
• Google+, Google Games, Groups, Orkut,
Blogger, and Hangout.
• 500 M users, over 50% log in
every day, 200M using their
mobiles.
• Over 250 M interact with
Facebook across 2 million other
websites
• 20 million applications are
installed per day
• 3 million messages are sent
every 20 minutes.
Giving people the power to shareOrganizing Internet Information
What is a platform?
11
Infrastructure
• Physical
• Information
• Financial
Applications
Developers
Planks
Users
Platforms get enormous value from
3rd party developers
Most firms can only
concentrate on most
valuable apps
Profits increase when
others add to platform’s
“Long Tail”
12
In House or Third-Party?
● iTunes/Facebook applications developers are primarily
“entrepreneurs”
 Investing time, providing ideas and concepts,
 Developing unique marketing strategies and campaigns
 Risking capital, develop and commercialize products
● Platform sponsors have responsibilities too
 Manage plank rules (IP, revenue sharing, appropriateness)
 Run developer forums
 May subsidize or promote certain projects
13
Lessons from today’s Platforms
● Winners in a platform market generally
 Have the “best” platform strategy, not necessarily the “best” product
 Follow their mission, leverage their strengths, study the market
● It’s better to maximize the value of their infrastructure and
intellectual property, not the terms and conditions that
maximize intellectual property protection
Source: Shapiro, C. and H. Varian (1998). Information Rules (Harvard Business School Press). p5.
14
How Do We Apply This to the
Postal, Mailing and Shipping
Industry?
15
What do we have?
What’s missing?
Infrastructure 
Ecosystem 
Applications ?
Business Model 
Strategy 
16
The Postal Infrastructure
17
The Postal, Mailing & Shipping
Ecosystem
● The postal ecosystem
 Consumers
 Advertisers
 Publishers and Printers
 Consolidators, third-party logistics providers, and other transporters
 Banks and financial services providers
 Policy makers and Regulators
 Postal operators and couriers
 Technology suppliers and other service providers
18
The postal platform
19
Infrastructure
• Physical
• Information
• Financial
Planks
Shipper S R Receiver
eCommerce eGovernment
New Logistics Market intelligence
Innovation
Private
Capital
Example: Leveraging Communities
20
R Receiver
Example: The Moving Community
21
R
Change of
address records
Moving to a Platform Business…
● The platform business model can have a transformative
effect on the postal ecosystem
 Re-imagining the mail business with innovative applications
 Extending the value of the mail and the value of the postal
infrastructure
 Creating two-sided network effects
● Moving to this new business model requires:
 A strategic approach that aligns mission, corporate strengths and
market needs
 The identification of application “zones”
 “Planking”: The definition and implementation of a platform program
within the enterprise
22
Application Zones
● eCommerce
● Retail services
● Financial services
● New Logistics
● eGovernment &
community informatics
● eMailboxes & electronic
services
● Marketing, Affinity &
Market Intelligence
23
Etc.…
Next Steps
● Charter document
 Strategic analysis: Mission, strengths, market needs
 Business case for a platform strategy
 Application zones
 Blueprint
● Establish planks
 Platform organization
 Communication plan and outreach
 Business plan, rules, I/P, “give and take”
 Implementation, new internal processes
24
In Summary
● A platform business model can have a transformative effect
on the postal, mailing and shipping ecosystem
 Bringing a continuous stream of innovation
 Mitigating risks and conserving capital
 Creating network effects
 Extending the life of the mail
● A strategic focus is required
 Mission, strengths, market needs
● A plan must follow
 Outreach
 Applications
25
26
Thank You
Questions, comments: bmarkowicz@decisionanalysis.net
27
> insight > action > transformation

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The Concept of Postal Platform and Its Applications

  • 1. An Overview and Framework for Postal Platforms September 19, 2013
  • 2. Outline ● The concept of platforms  What is a platform? Why are we talking about them today?  Examples of commercial platforms & ecosystems ● How to apply this concept to the Postal, Mailing & Shipping industry  Postal ecosystem and infrastructure  A postal platform: Why and How?  Next Steps 2
  • 4. Concept of Platforms ● Business model  Bringing revenue  Bringing innovation  Managing risk ● Infrastructure  Operating system, distribution system ● Applications that interact with users ● Rules of the game ● Network effects 4
  • 5. Microsoft versus Apple 1981-1997 ● Apple launched the personal computer market but Microsoft licensed widely, building a huge developer ecosystem. By the time of the antitrust trial, Microsoft had more than 6 times the number of developers. 5 Developer Ecosystem
  • 6. Apple versus Microsoft: Key Business Model Difference 6 Apple Mac Users Claris Mac OS • Charged ~$10,000 for SDKs(*). • Controlled OS & HW and dominant Apps. • Vertical integration choked network effects Apple Microsoft • Microsoft had 6-10X developers • Open APIs / Cheap SDKs • Controlled OS, licensed. • Strong network effects. Users Dvprs MS Windows Dell IBM … HPProviders Sponsor (*) Software Development Kit
  • 7. Microsoft versus Apple 1998-2009 7 ● Using a platform strategy, Apple becomes the most valuable tech firm in the US, representing $310Bn to Microsoft’s $204Bn. Chart shows % growth. “I sell songs in order to sell phones” Network Effects
  • 8. Network Effects Users (Demand) ● Consumers of the platform services; they can be individuals, businesses, organizations, etc. Users (Solution Developers) ● They provide product or services that attract users to the platform – information, services, answers, music, games, Providers ● The contact point for users and value-added providers. Providers offer common platform components and define rules to facilitate the services. Sponsors ● Responsible for the overall organizing structure for the platform: the rules and governance of the ecosystem. May control the underlying platform technology and IP rights. 8 Sponsor Provider Users (Demand) Users (Developers)
  • 9. Microsoft & Apple 9 Today, Apple is a PlatformToday, Microsoft is a Platform
  • 10. Other examples 10 • Evolved from a single purpose application • Android & Chrome operating systems, Docs, Gmail, Calendar, and Chrome browser, • Droid phone, Android tablets, Chromebook, and Music Store • Google Books, Product Search, Checkout, Wallet, and Cloud Computing. • Google+, Google Games, Groups, Orkut, Blogger, and Hangout. • 500 M users, over 50% log in every day, 200M using their mobiles. • Over 250 M interact with Facebook across 2 million other websites • 20 million applications are installed per day • 3 million messages are sent every 20 minutes. Giving people the power to shareOrganizing Internet Information
  • 11. What is a platform? 11 Infrastructure • Physical • Information • Financial Applications Developers Planks Users
  • 12. Platforms get enormous value from 3rd party developers Most firms can only concentrate on most valuable apps Profits increase when others add to platform’s “Long Tail” 12
  • 13. In House or Third-Party? ● iTunes/Facebook applications developers are primarily “entrepreneurs”  Investing time, providing ideas and concepts,  Developing unique marketing strategies and campaigns  Risking capital, develop and commercialize products ● Platform sponsors have responsibilities too  Manage plank rules (IP, revenue sharing, appropriateness)  Run developer forums  May subsidize or promote certain projects 13
  • 14. Lessons from today’s Platforms ● Winners in a platform market generally  Have the “best” platform strategy, not necessarily the “best” product  Follow their mission, leverage their strengths, study the market ● It’s better to maximize the value of their infrastructure and intellectual property, not the terms and conditions that maximize intellectual property protection Source: Shapiro, C. and H. Varian (1998). Information Rules (Harvard Business School Press). p5. 14
  • 15. How Do We Apply This to the Postal, Mailing and Shipping Industry? 15
  • 16. What do we have? What’s missing? Infrastructure  Ecosystem  Applications ? Business Model  Strategy  16
  • 18. The Postal, Mailing & Shipping Ecosystem ● The postal ecosystem  Consumers  Advertisers  Publishers and Printers  Consolidators, third-party logistics providers, and other transporters  Banks and financial services providers  Policy makers and Regulators  Postal operators and couriers  Technology suppliers and other service providers 18
  • 19. The postal platform 19 Infrastructure • Physical • Information • Financial Planks Shipper S R Receiver eCommerce eGovernment New Logistics Market intelligence Innovation Private Capital
  • 21. Example: The Moving Community 21 R Change of address records
  • 22. Moving to a Platform Business… ● The platform business model can have a transformative effect on the postal ecosystem  Re-imagining the mail business with innovative applications  Extending the value of the mail and the value of the postal infrastructure  Creating two-sided network effects ● Moving to this new business model requires:  A strategic approach that aligns mission, corporate strengths and market needs  The identification of application “zones”  “Planking”: The definition and implementation of a platform program within the enterprise 22
  • 23. Application Zones ● eCommerce ● Retail services ● Financial services ● New Logistics ● eGovernment & community informatics ● eMailboxes & electronic services ● Marketing, Affinity & Market Intelligence 23 Etc.…
  • 24. Next Steps ● Charter document  Strategic analysis: Mission, strengths, market needs  Business case for a platform strategy  Application zones  Blueprint ● Establish planks  Platform organization  Communication plan and outreach  Business plan, rules, I/P, “give and take”  Implementation, new internal processes 24
  • 25. In Summary ● A platform business model can have a transformative effect on the postal, mailing and shipping ecosystem  Bringing a continuous stream of innovation  Mitigating risks and conserving capital  Creating network effects  Extending the life of the mail ● A strategic focus is required  Mission, strengths, market needs ● A plan must follow  Outreach  Applications 25
  • 26. 26 Thank You Questions, comments: bmarkowicz@decisionanalysis.net
  • 27. 27 > insight > action > transformation