Platforms can contribute to more efficient development of product-service solutions

​In her doctoral thesis, Siri Jagstedt investigates the use of platforms for integrated product-service solutions. Platform strategies can be used to exploit commonalities between various offerings, and share assets between them, which can give more effective solutions. The thesis shows that a broad perspective is needed on what kind of assets should be used in a platform for such solutions – and knowledge is seen as a particularly important one.

​What challenges do you focus on in your research?

 “My research takes its point of departure in the challenges that manufacturers encounter when increasingly integrating services to their products. Providing such product-service solutions, a high degree of customization is required to address individual customers’ needs. However, customization tends to be both costly and time-consuming, resulting in profitability issues for the solution business.”

How do you address the problem with your research?

“In the thesis, I argue that a platform approach enables a more efficient solutions development. Platforms have been long used for products to achieve economies of scale effects, while allowing for flexibility to address the various needs of different customers. A platform comprises assets that are shared by a set of offerings, thereby seeking to exploit commonalities among them.”
“Research has recently start looking into the use of platforms for services, and in my thesis I focus on their use for offerings in which products and services are integrated. Although there are arguments in favour of using a platform approach for such product-service solutions, there are also challenges which need to be considered. My research accordingly sets out to identify and describe factors influencing the use of platforms for product–service solutions.”

What were the main findings of your research? 

 “Firstly, to pay attention to differences between products, services and solutions in relation to a platform approach is important. These differences are about primary cost drivers, the dependence in time and space, and the assets to use in the platform.”
“Given these differences, the arguments for using a platforms approach need to be considered. It is far from given that a platform approach is suitable for the specific context. In the thesis,  the factors to account for are sorted into three areas – the business strategy and the objectives for the solution business, the solution and organizational architecture, and the variation in customers’ needs.”
“In the use of a platform approach for product-services solutions, three main steps are identified: 1) The development of the platform itself – that is, the establishment of the assets to be shared among solutions, 2) customization efforts, and 3) personalization activities. The latter is about adapting the delivery of the solution, while customization is about configuration of the solution to make it useful in the customer’s operation.”
“In the development of the platforms, two approaches can be taken, starting in either an individual solution, or in the establishment of the basis. These approaches come with different benefits and drawbacks.”

What do you hope your research will lead to?

“I hope that the thesis can expand our understanding of how platforms might be used for different offerings through its specific focus on product-service solutions, comprising an offering with high degree of integration between products and services. This requires a broader view on what assets to share among the offerings, the thesis highlighting knowledge in particular.”
“In addition to arguments in favour of using platforms for these offerings, I hope that the thesis can shed light on the difficulties and challenges that product-oriented companies encounter when using a platform approach for solutions. To be able to manoeuvre such obstacles, there is first a need to understand them, and to be able to relate the investments needed to the potential benefits of a platform approach.”

Text compilation: Daniel Karlsson

The thesis defence will be online on Zoom 11 June 2020 13.15, find link here
More about Siri Jagstedt

Published: Tue 02 Jun 2020.