The uprise of the internet of things (IoT) has stimulated both digital platform natives and industry incumbents to compete for IoT platform leadership. While digital natives, such as Microsoft, Google, or Amazon denote experienced and well-studied platform owners, industry incumbents, such as IBM, General Electric, and AT&T have to learn how to extend their established pipeline businesses with IoT platforms. As socio-technical systems, IoT platforms offer industry incumbents the unique opportunity to profit from value cocreation, i.e., the joint development of products and services with third parties. While scholars have studied multiple mature digital platforms, research on platform establishment and industry incumbents capabilities to foster value cocreation is scarce. Thus, this thesis asks: How can industry incumbents successfully establish IoT platforms for value cocreation? Drawing on case study research, three pillars answer this overarching research question. Pillar one examines platform governance to understand what strategies support the value cocreation process and how they address specific challenges in enterprise IoT. Pillar two deals with the challenge of platform growth in the establishment phase. On the one hand, third parties decisions to join IoT platforms are studied. On the other hand, two modes that foster early platform growth are proposed. Pillar three explores how industry incumbents develop platform capabilities in form of organizational routines and how they aid their business transformations to run both pipelines and platforms. Overall, the results of this dissertation contribute to platform research and its successful establishment from a value cocreation perspective. In that, they extend prior findings on platform governance, growth, and capabilities. While the results are insightful for all stakeholders of complex platforms, such as IoT platforms, they particularly address industry incumbents and the shift in their role, and the capabilities needed to actively foster value cocreation. Thus, managers can act upon the recommendations presented in this thesis when establishing their IoT platforms. However, future research is needed to find additional success factors to thrive for IoT platform leadership.
21 Feb 2022