Generic filters
Exact matches only
Filter by content type

Nicola Staub

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Büro 52-6150
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 6/8
9000 St Gallen
+41 71 224 33 18


  • Digital Platform Ecosystems
  • Platform Acquisitions
  • Platform Governance
  • Publikationen

    Acquisition of complementors is a prevailing mechanism available to platform owners to leverage digital platforms’ multidimensional growth. Notwithstanding platform owners’ propensity to acquire complementors, little is known about the potential effects of such acquisitions on the non-acquired complementors. While a group of complementors may benefit from an acquisition, others may perceive an acquisition as the platform owner entering into competition with its own complementors. To address this gap, we examine the acquisition of complementors’ effects on the other complementors in the context of a B2B innovation platform whose evolution is considerably influenced by a plethora of acquisitions. As part of an ongoing research project, in this paper we link academic discourses on acquisitions and platform owners’ market entry to derive a set of hypotheses, which we plan to test in the respective B2B innovation platform ecosystem.

    By acquiring complementors, digital platform owners can facilitate rapid advances in the evolution of their platform ecosystems. We describe how Salesforce has successfully evolved its platform ecosystem through the acquisition of complementors. Based on insights from the Salesforce case, we provide recommendations for acquiring complementors, aligning acquisitions with the platform owner’s proprietary developments, integrating the acquired complementors and retaining the coherency of the platform’s offerings even after diverse acquisitions.

    Platform ecosystems are complex ecologies of firms with individual competencies and collective objectives. The sustainable evolution of platform ecosystems is thereby contingent on taking advantage of the individual competencies of the ecosystem’s actors toward obtaining collective objectives. To learn more about platform ecosystem evolution and dynamics, we study Salesforce, a leading and thriving B2B platform ecosystem. We find that the ecosystem’s evolution was closely defined not only by the platform owner’s orchestrating initiatives, but also by its complementors’ and customers’ competencies and particularities. Specifically, we derive three distinct dimensions of evolution, namely the extension of the platform core technology, the extension of the platform’s functional scope, and the industry-specific specialization of the platform. We further identify three cross-dimension levers, namely proprietary developments, acquisitions, as well as partnerships and alliances, which were employed by the platform owner to drive its platform ecosystem’s evolution.

    Digital platforms (DPs) – technical core artifacts augmented by peripheral third-party complementary resources – facilitate the interaction and collaboration of different actors through highly-efficient resource matching. As DPs differ significantly in their configurations and applications, it is important from both a descriptive and a design perspective to define classes of DPs. As an intentionally designed artifact, every classification pursues a certain purpose. In this research, the purpose is to classify DPs from a business model perspective, i.e. to identify DP clusters that each share a similar business model type. We follow Nickerson et al.’s (2013) method for taxonomy development. By validating the conceptually derived design dimensions with ten DP cases, we identify platform structure and platform participants as the major clustering constituent characteristics. Building on the proposed taxonomy, we derive four DP archetypes that follow distinct design configurations, namely business innovation platforms, consumer innovation platforms, business exchange platforms and consumer exchange platforms.