Service Platform Development: Comparison of Two E-Services Platforms

Service Platform Development: Comparison of Two E-Services Platforms

Tugrul Daim (Portland State University, USA), Marius Brand (Portland State University, USA) and Linda Lin (Portland State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jisss.2011040104


Platform concepts have been around for about a decade now. While their focus was on the manufacturing industry in the beginnings, interest has shifted to services – and Internet-based services in particular. This paper provides an overview of popular product platform concepts, a new view upon services in the light of the Internet, and links platforms to Internet-based services. Two companies with a tremendous platform potential, Google and EBay, are introduced and analyzed with respect to their usage of the product platform concept. After a brief discussion of the results, two product offerings of both Google and EBay are compared to give a practical example.
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Literature Review

Simpson (2005 ) reports that many companies choose platform-based product development to optimize their manufacturing capacities to address varying market segments. This is, as stated in the citation, particularly true for the manufacturing industry. For example, in the 1990s, automotive companies using a platform approach experienced an increase in their market share of more than 5% whereas firms not using platforms lost over 2% (Cusumano & Nobeoka, 1998). A look into the literature reveals that there is not one accepted standard or definition of what a product platform is supposed to be. Rather, there are several approaches that are similar in general, but differ in details. Here, the two concepts of McGrath and Meyer will be analyzed. Yet, the platform concept was a result of earlier scholastic achievements. For example, Edvardsson and Olsson (1996) proposed their own model for New Services Development. One of their three key elements of new services (Service System, Service Process, and Service Concept) can be seen as a prototype of a service platform, namely the Service System. It contains all the resources out of which services are going to be created. However, those resources were not primarily intended to be reused. Rather, the focus is on creating products only once, not in several iterations. Bitran and Pedrosa (1998) go one step further. Within their New Services Development concept of an “Architectural Knowledge”, a collection of subsystems which eventually form a service, the components should offer reproducibility in order to use them again. Naturally, the platform idea also derives from the extensive research that has been done for service development processes (de Brentani & Ragot, 1996; Smith et al., 2007) provide a good summary of process approaches). Gershenshon et al. (2003) give interesting insights about concepts dealing with a product platform’s requirement modularity.

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