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Towards a Boundary Resources Theory of Software Platforms
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Informatics.
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The last few years have witnessed a significant increase in the frequency and magnitude of involving third-party application developers in software platforms. While this involvement offers great opportunities in building and sustaining platform innovation, it also exposes platform owners to significant challenges. Typically, platform owners facilitate the involvement of third-party developers by providing resources, referred to in this thesis as boundary resources, that give access to the platform, shift design capability, and facilitate the use of the platform’s core technologies. At the same time, these resources have the potential to be used to maintain platform control. This involves seemingly conflicting goals that creates a challenge for platform owners in finding the right balance.

The main objective of this thesis is to investigate and understand the role of boundary resources in platform owners’ efforts to stimulate third-party development. To this end, this thesis proposes a theoretical model of boundary resources. This model centres on various drivers behind boundary resources design and use, and how these drivers interact in third-party development. The thesis also presents a comprehensive view of governance and strategizing practices used by platform owners through boundary resources. This thesis comprises a cover and a collection of five published research papers. The thesis applies a qualitative research method and employs multiple case studies. Boundary resources, innovation networks and platform governance perspectives have been synthesized to build a theoretical  basis to analyze the empirical findings.

This thesis complements and extends the literature on software platforms, and the insights derived from the thesis enhance previous research on third-party development. In addition, it provides a focused theoretical account of the interfaces between platform owners and third-party developers that contributes to the body of knowledge developed around using tools for innovation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping International Business School , 2012. , 207 p.
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 085
Keyword [en]
software platforms, third-party development, boundary resources, innovation networks, resourcing, securing, governance
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-19820ISBN: 978-91-86345-38-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-19820DiVA: diva2:567769
Public defence
2012-12-06, B1014, Högskoleområdet Gjuterigatan 5, Jönköping, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-11-14 Created: 2012-11-14 Last updated: 2013-04-19Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The power of platforms for software development in open innovation networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The power of platforms for software development in open innovation networks
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisations, ISSN 1470-9503, E-ISSN 1741-5225, Vol. 9, no 2, 140-154 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Firms seeking to satisfy customer needs should not only rely oninternal but also external sources of innovations for the development of theirproducts and services. Consequently, they need to shift their centralisedbusiness approaches by adopting the paradigm of open innovation and theconcept of platforms to harness the value of innovation networks. The aim ofthis paper is to examine the nature of platforms and how their adoption canstimulate external contributions of third-party developers. Based on the analysiswhich illustrated three platform adoption examples from Apple, Facebook andTwitter it is found that a platform approach and its four main elements(components, knowledge, processes and people) affect the entire innovationnetwork and its two dimension of translations. It is also found that each of thethree firms applied its own particular strategy while adopting the four mainplatform elements to suit its own innovation networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, 2011
Keyword
innovation; platform; product platform; innovation networks; open innovation; iPhone; Twitter; Facebook.
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-15741 (URN)10.1504/IJNVO.2011.042415 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-08-10 Created: 2011-08-08 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
2. Governing third-party development through platform boundary resources
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governing third-party development through platform boundary resources
2010 (English)In: ICIS 2010 Proceedings, AIS: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL) , 2010, 1-18 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Third-party development is increasingly relevant for software platform owners seeking to generatecomplementary assets in the form of applications. The governance of such development involvestwo seemingly conflicting goals: the maintenance of platform control and the transfer of designcapability to users. A key element in simultaneously accommodating these goals is platformboundary resources. However, so far, there is a dearth of theoretical accounts of the role ofboundary resources and the process by which such resources can be used to govern third-partydevelopment. Drawing on case study research of Apple’s iPhone developer program, wesynthesize boundary objects theory and innovation networks literature to develop a processperspective of third-party development governance through boundary resources. In doing this, ourresearch extends and complements existing governance literature and contributes new knowledgeabout an alternative form of system development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AIS: AIS Electronic Library (AISeL), 2010
Series
ICIS 2010 Proceedings, 48
Keyword
Third-party development, governance, boundary resources, platform, innovation, innovation networks, boundary object.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-14028 (URN)
Conference
the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS)
Available from: 2011-01-07 Created: 2010-12-22 Last updated: 2012-11-14Bibliographically approved
3. Micro-Strategizing in Platform Ecosystems: A Multiple Case Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Micro-Strategizing in Platform Ecosystems: A Multiple Case Study
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2011, Shanghai, China, December 4-7, 2011. Association for Information Systems 2011, Shanghai, China: AIS , 2011, 1-19 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The strategy by which a platform owner manages the future trajectory of its platform involves many unknowns. In particular, the ambition to simultaneously control the platform and distribute design capability to users is challenging. While there is an emerging literature on strategy in platform ecosystems, little empirical evidence exists about the series of strategic actions that platform owners conduct to create value in an ecosystem context. Drawing on a strategy-as-process perspective, this paper augments existing platform perspectives by seeking to understand the micro-strategizing of a platform owner. To this end, we report a multiple case study of Apple’s use of application programming interfaces for generating value from the iPhone platform. Our comparative analysis identifies and explores five different micro-strategies that can be enacted proactively or reactively: counteracting, monetizing, resourcing, securing, and sustaining. The paper concludes with a number of theoretical and practical implications of these micro-strategies and their interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Shanghai, China: AIS, 2011
Keyword
Third-party development, platforms, ecosystems, boundary resources, micro-strategies, APIs.
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-16779 (URN)978-0-615-55907-0 (ISBN)
Conference
AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Available from: 2011-11-23 Created: 2011-11-23 Last updated: 2012-11-14Bibliographically approved
4. Balancing platform control and external contribution in third-party development: the boundary resources model
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Balancing platform control and external contribution in third-party development: the boundary resources model
2013 (English)In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 23, no 2, 173-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Prior research documents the significance of using platform boundary resources (e.g., APIs) for cultivating platform ecosystems through third-party development. However, there are few, if any, theoretical accounts of this relationship. To this end, this paper proposes a theoretical model that centers on two drivers behind boundary resources design and use – resourcing and securing – and how these drivers interact in third-party development. We apply the model to a detailed case study of Apple’s iPhone platform. Our application of the model not only serves as an illustration of its plausibility but also generates insights about the conflicting goals of third-party development: the maintenance of platform control and the transfer of design capability to third-party developers. We generate four specialized constructs for understanding the actions taken by stakeholders in third-party development: self-resourcing, regulation-based securing, diversity-resourcing, and sovereignty securing. Our research extends and complements existing platform literature and contributes new knowledge about an alternative form of system development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2013
Keyword
platform, third-party development, boundary resources model, application programming interfaces (APIs), resourcing, securing
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-19263 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2575.2012.00406.x (DOI)
Available from: 2012-08-26 Created: 2012-08-26 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
5. Third-Party Development for Multi-Contextual Services: On the Mechanisms of Control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Third-Party Development for Multi-Contextual Services: On the Mechanisms of Control
2011 (English)In: ECIS 2011 Proceedings, AISnet, 2011, 1-14 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The increasing adoption of nomadic devices and the associated use of information in numerous use situations pose new challenges for the ISD practice; handling the development of such multi- contextual services covering a broader vignette of users, devices and use situations than typically associated with ISD. Recently organizations have started tapping into development resources in large networks of third-party developers. Such development is enabled through the use of software platforms where developers through boundary resources, such as APIs, may access and extend functionality in new ways. Yet, studies on how organizations are able to control this type of development remains scarce. By synthesizing theory on control and boundary objects we aim at putting a new perspective and gain a greater understanding of how organizations attempt to control such development efforts. As an illustration, we draw upon a case study of a public transportation company which through deployment of a software platform is provided access to a large body of third-party developers. We use this case to study the measures taken to control development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AISnet: , 2011
Keyword
third-party development, control, multi-contextual services, boundary objects, innovation networks, software platforms, APIs.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-15728 (URN)
Conference
European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2011)
Available from: 2012-01-12 Created: 2011-07-31 Last updated: 2012-11-14Bibliographically approved

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