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A new matrix for building platform portfolios: how companies can sustain their leadership

A new matrix for building platform portfolios: how companies can sustain their leadership An essential corporate decision-making tool, the Boston Consulting Group's growth-share matrix, is due for an upgrade. The purpose of this paper is to upgrade this growth matrix for use by corporate managers in the current platform age. Designed in the conglomerate age of the 1960s and 1970s to help corporate managers make disciplined and systematic portfolio investment decisions, the matrix is ill-adapted to the platform age in which we now live. The most valuable companies in the world are now platform companies, and many companies are transitioning to a more platform-based corporate portfolio. In this paper, the author explains how corporate managers can build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio.Design/methodology/approachThe author started with a thorough study of the contextual assumptions and theoretical background of the original Boston Consulting Group growth-share matrix (which the author has been teaching for the past decade). He contrasted these with the assumptions and theoretical background developed in the platform strategy literature. To test and refine the framework, the author presented and discussed its applicability at companies such as GSK and with local consultants. He then used five consecutive cohorts of master students [280 students (70 groups)] to test this framework on a total of 20 companies (both “born platform” and “product to platform” companies).FindingsThe platform ecosystem age requires a corporate decision-making matrix that discriminates between businesses on the basis of platform market growth and platform commercialization capability, rather than product market growth and market share. As in the original matrix, these businesses correspond to three different investment horizons (Figure 1): the continuous renewal of blockbuster business, the integration of emerging killer businesses and the experimentation with joint innovation businesses. This paper helps corporate managers build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio by means of a sequence of six decision-making steps and a clear organizational template for successful execution.Originality/valueThe portfolio matrix, decision-making sequence and organizational execution advice presented in this paper are fit for both “born platform” companies such as Google (Alphabet) and “product to platform” hybrids such as Lego. The paper illustrates this with practical examples for both types of companies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Business Strategy Emerald Publishing

A new matrix for building platform portfolios: how companies can sustain their leadership

Journal of Business Strategy , Volume 42 (3): 9 – May 26, 2021

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References (19)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
0275-6668
eISSN
0275-6668
DOI
10.1108/jbs-08-2019-0162
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An essential corporate decision-making tool, the Boston Consulting Group's growth-share matrix, is due for an upgrade. The purpose of this paper is to upgrade this growth matrix for use by corporate managers in the current platform age. Designed in the conglomerate age of the 1960s and 1970s to help corporate managers make disciplined and systematic portfolio investment decisions, the matrix is ill-adapted to the platform age in which we now live. The most valuable companies in the world are now platform companies, and many companies are transitioning to a more platform-based corporate portfolio. In this paper, the author explains how corporate managers can build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio.Design/methodology/approachThe author started with a thorough study of the contextual assumptions and theoretical background of the original Boston Consulting Group growth-share matrix (which the author has been teaching for the past decade). He contrasted these with the assumptions and theoretical background developed in the platform strategy literature. To test and refine the framework, the author presented and discussed its applicability at companies such as GSK and with local consultants. He then used five consecutive cohorts of master students [280 students (70 groups)] to test this framework on a total of 20 companies (both “born platform” and “product to platform” companies).FindingsThe platform ecosystem age requires a corporate decision-making matrix that discriminates between businesses on the basis of platform market growth and platform commercialization capability, rather than product market growth and market share. As in the original matrix, these businesses correspond to three different investment horizons (Figure 1): the continuous renewal of blockbuster business, the integration of emerging killer businesses and the experimentation with joint innovation businesses. This paper helps corporate managers build and execute a sustainable platform portfolio by means of a sequence of six decision-making steps and a clear organizational template for successful execution.Originality/valueThe portfolio matrix, decision-making sequence and organizational execution advice presented in this paper are fit for both “born platform” companies such as Google (Alphabet) and “product to platform” hybrids such as Lego. The paper illustrates this with practical examples for both types of companies.

Journal

Journal of Business StrategyEmerald Publishing

Published: May 26, 2021

Keywords: Ambidexterity; Lego; Born platform companies; Google/Alphabet; Platform companies; Platformania; Portfolio matrix; Product/platform hybrids

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