Acquisition of Complementors as a Strategy for Evolving Digital Platform Ecosystems
Lessons from Salesforce, a thriving B2B platform ecosystem, on how to rapidly evolve a platform's technology and functionalities through acquisitions.
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.
We provide four recommendations to platform owners:
1. Make Acquisitions in all of the Platform Ecosystem’s Strategic Directions of Evolution
2. Employ Acquisitions as a Mechanism to Boost Existing or Initiate New Proprietary Developments
3. Prevent Diverse Acquisitions from Destroying the Coherency and Consistency of the Platform’s Offerings
4. Adopt a Flexible Approach to Integrating Acquired Complementors to Exploit their Individual Potential
The article by Nicola Staub, Kazem Haki, Stephan Aier, and Robert Winter published in MIS Quarterly Executive is available at: https://aisel.aisnet.org/misqe/vol20/iss4/5
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