The internet of things (IoT) and digital platforms have offered industrial companies new opportunities to compete against digital platform-native companies. To succeed in this competition, industry incumbents must learn to extend their traditional product and service business through platforms. However, extant research has focused primarily on the ability of platform owners to govern mature platforms for innovation but has largely ignored how industry incumbents can build these capabilities internally during the establishment of their platform ecosystems as part of larger transformational journeys. To address this gap, we conduct a multiple case study of three incumbent organizations, drawing on a dynamic capability lens. We identify 11 practical microfoundations of sensing, seizing, and reconfiguring dynamic capabilities that aided three incumbents in establishing their IoT platform ecosystems. Besides the transformational activities, our findings contribute to the literature on platform establishment through three IoT-related shifts that deviate from known digital platform paradigms.
Christian Marheine, Dimitri Petrik