San Francisco, USA, 8 June 2017– Business-to-business platforms have the potential to create enormous value for businesses, innovation and society but could be hindered without greater efforts to establish standards and trust according to a new report, Unlocking B2B Platform Value, launched at the Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its 2017 Industry Strategy Meeting.
The new report, produced in association with Accenture supported by Philips, assessed 10 industries. It estimates that platforms could generate $10 trillion in socioeconomic value by 2025. B2B (business-to-business) platforms are the new marketplaces for businesses. They orchestrate new ways of connecting buyers and sellers and creating new services. Some companies will use platforms to access significantly larger markets. Others will partner with specialists to deliver new as-a-service offerings based on their existing products. Companies will also be able to use platforms to share their underutilized assets – from data to property and vehicles – to cover costs and increase revenues.
“B2B platforms represent a tremendous opportunity for the Fourth Industrial Revolution given the trillions of dollars at stake for both society and industry,” said Murat Sönmez, Member of the World Economic Forum Managing Board and Head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Supporting the evolution of a fair, accountable and ethical platform economy is central to our mission.”
“The digital transformation has the potential to significantly improve people’s lives and provide businesses with new opportunities to create and capture value,” said Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer at health technology company Philips. “There is clear consensus among industry and government leaders that trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy. Therefore it is key that we collectively address the challenges related to cross-border data flows, security and privacy in order to create a trustworthy platform ecosystem and enable broad adoption of digital innovations.”
“Digital platforms hold tremendous promise for business and society – accessing vast markets, driving new ways to innovate and enabling the growth of outcome-based business models,” said Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Accenture. “But success depends on building new ecosystems, adapting critical capabilities to thrive in a platform-driven world, and working collaboratively with both business and policy-makers to create the platform economy.”
The report concludes with two principal recommendations:
· Businesses must establish new organizational structures, skills and cultures that enable them to shift from selling products to offering services. This includes changes that make it easier for companies to collaborate with partners and create data-based innovations.
· Policy-makers must harmonize legal and regulatory policies to enable platforms to operate across borders. These include labour policies, IP regulations and the storage, exchange and use of data.
About the report
The new findings are the result of a year-long, multistakeholder initiative with a community of platform experts from the private sector, policy-makers and civil society. The intent is to guide business leaders as they prioritize their strategic imperatives in the adoption of digital platforms.
The new publication is part of the World Economic Forum Digital Transformation Initiative (DTI) which was launched in 2015 to serve as the focal point for new opportunities and themes arising from the latest developments in the digitalization of business and society. It supports the Forum’s broader activity around the theme of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.