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The Concept of Postal Platform and Its Applications


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The concept of platform was developed a few years ago to describe new economic models such as iTunes, ebay and others who bring the services of other private companies into their infrastructure as a revenue multiplier. This webinar will present the concept and its applications to the postal world.

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The Concept of Postal Platform and Its Applications

  1. 1. An Overview and Framework for Postal Platforms September 19, 2013
  2. 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
  3. 3. Concept of platform 3
  4. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 9. Microsoft & Apple 9 Today, Apple is a PlatformToday, Microsoft is a Platform
  10. 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. 11. What is a platform? 11 Infrastructure • Physical • Information • Financial Applications Developers Planks Users
  12. 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. 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. 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. 15. How Do We Apply This to the Postal, Mailing and Shipping Industry? 15
  16. 16. What do we have? What’s missing? Infrastructure  Ecosystem  Applications ? Business Model  Strategy  16
  17. 17. The Postal Infrastructure 17
  18. 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. 19. The postal platform 19 Infrastructure • Physical • Information • Financial Planks Shipper S R Receiver eCommerce eGovernment New Logistics Market intelligence Innovation Private Capital
  20. 20. Example: Leveraging Communities 20 R Receiver
  21. 21. Example: The Moving Community 21 R Change of address records
  22. 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. 23. Application Zones ● eCommerce ● Retail services ● Financial services ● New Logistics ● eGovernment & community informatics ● eMailboxes & electronic services ● Marketing, Affinity & Market Intelligence 23 Etc.…
  24. 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. 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. 26 Thank You Questions, comments:
  27. 27. 27 > insight > action > transformation