In Progress

Mastering Platform Businesses

More and more organizations are creating, participating in, or competing with platform businesses. Although it is not a completely new phenomenon, there is still much confusion about what a ‘platform business’ is, what roles you can play in a platform business, how to create one or participate in one, what capabilities are needed, and how to play to win in a platform business context. In this research, we will seek to move the story forward, giving businesses and their leaders guidelines for how to play and win in the Platform Business Game.

Playing the Platform Game

Bill Murray

Senior Researcher and Advisor

Bill Murray is a Senior Researcher and Advisor for Leading Edge Forum.  Bill is the author of our reports on Liberating Platform Organizations and Rethink Risk Through the Lens of Antifragility. He is also the co-author (with Glen Robinson) of our publication The Renaissance of the IT Organization.

Bill’s IT career spans over 30 years, with 16 years as a Founder and Partner of Differentis, providing strategic IT consulting services to many industry sectors.  Bill has experience of developing Digital and business technology strategies, business cases and change programmes involving technology disruptions such as consumerization, analytics and cloud-based services.  Most recently, Bill has been helping clients develop IoT enabled business propositions and services in Connected Health, Connected Insurance, FMCG and supply chains, and advising on IoT platforms.

Bill’s experience also includes setting up/running business and IT innovation projects; shaping and growing analytics groups; IT organisation reviews; development of strategic IT initiatives and business cases; development of business and IT architectures; IT strategy definition; mobilization, delivery and turnaround of major programmes and business process re-engineering.

Prior to Differentis, Bill was Vice President of Management Consulting and Strategic Development for CSC where he consulted to clients on IT strategy, programme management and business/IT innovation projects.  Prior to CSC, Bill held various strategy roles with KPMG Nolan Norton and Accenture. 

Bill is a chartered engineer by background and started his career with Arup in high energy impact analysis in the nuclear and automotive industries.

Dave Aron

Global Research Director
Leading Edge Forum

Dave Aron, based in the UK, is Global Research Director for Leading Edge Forum.  In this position, he guides a series of global research initiatives aimed at helping CIOs and other Business/ IT leaders reimagine their organizations and leadership for a tech-driven future. Dave is the author of our 2017 reports, Unleashing Digital Talent for Fun and Profit and Winning in the 21st Century - A User's Guide.

Dave’s key areas of research include digital business, strategy and new business models.  Previously, Dave spent more than 12 years at Gartner, as a Gartner Fellow, focusing on strategy and CIO leadership issues.  Dave has more than 30 years’ experience in the IT business, and has been writing, speaking and teaching on digital business, IT strategy and other topics around the world for more than a decade.

Dave holds a BSc in Computer Science from Queen Mary College, and an MBA from London Business School.

Dave's alter ego is Mu, The 21st Century Anti-Strategist, which comprises Dave's distilled thoughts about what doesn't make sense as 20th century organizations sleepwalk into the 21st century.


We will combine interviews with leading platform players, existing external thought leadership and LEF’s own analysis, plus an understanding from our clients and other leaders what role platform businesses are playing in their business models, and what issues they are wrestling with.


  • A research report that provides insight through case studies, tools and action plans, that we will use to explore platform business topics with our clients.
  • A workshop that we will use to help clients analyze platform business issues in their specific context.

Our goal is to publish the research report, executive summary, presentation and related tools in April 2018.


We would love to talk to any private or public sector organizations who have a story to tell about experience with creating, participating or competing with a platform business. Participating in the research will involve a 60 minute telephone interview. To participate, please contact Bill by email at


As a result of taking part in a 60-minute telephone research interview, you will benefit from early access to the findings and have your advanced practices showcased to a wide audience of senior global leaders. We also hope you will find the interview itself challenging and thought-provoking.


Below are some candidate questions for the interview. A subset to focus on can be agreed with the sponsor beforehand.

Platform businesses:

  • Do you have, or are you building, a platform business?
  • Which platform businesses do you do business with? What roles do you play?
  • Who else participates? What is the scope of the ecosystem?
  • How do you think about competition/competitive advantage in a platform world?

Digital platforms:

  • Do you have, or are you building, a digital platform?
  • Which digital platforms do you do business with? What roles do you play?
  • Who else participates? What is the scope of the ecosystem?

Applicable to both:

  • What is the role of your IT organization in your platform play(s)?
  • How do you make collaborative decisions about the platform with other participants?
  • How would describe the flows of value in the platform – who gets what?
  • What has the value impact of the platform been to your company/agency?
  • How does the architecture of the platform fit with your internal enterprise architecture?
  • Are there any types of skill/talent that you need more in a platform world?
  • Any technology specifics that have been important to the platform’s success?
  • What has been most important to make the platform successful?
  • Any gotchas – things that you wouldn’t do/would do differently if you did it again?