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Product-centric Information Management: A Case Study of a Shared Platform with Blockchain Technology

  • Author(s): Mattila, Juri
  • Seppälä, Timo
  • Holmström, Jan
  • et al.
Abstract

Product-centric information management is a key concept in understanding the interoperability between increasingly intelligent and autonomous goods in distributed computing architectures. In the same way as consumers are an important source of data in contemporary platforms, products — especially durable and capital goods — can be considered equally valuable for industries that have not yet been platformatized. By exploiting a blockchain technology approach, this paper makes an effort to combine product-centric information management with platform literature in order to understand possible development trajectories for multi-sided platforms, across industry sectors.

Through a novel perspective, this paper offers new insights into product-centric information management and shows that blockchain technology can have interesting and useful applications in the architectural design of industrial platforms. The paper concludes with some managerial implications about the nature of multi-sided markets for durable and capital goods. Furthermore, some policy implications are presented regarding the free flowing of information, as well as the role of the public authority in fostering platform development.

Though the examination of an inductive case study, this paper aims to provide a clearer understanding on the ambiguous phenomenon of blockchain technology. The formulation of this particular case study will also assist other scholars in presenting their respective use cases in later studies. Furthermore, the presented case study will also prepare scholars for the complexities that companies face when designing blockchain-based applications and architectures.

This paper suggests that understanding blockchain technology is essential when considering the implementation of the product-centric information management approach in practice. The inductive case study herein provides some bottom-up evidence suggesting that companies operating in the markets for durable and capital goods could build multi-sided platforms as a response to the prevalent consumer-centric platform trajectory. For practitioners, our detailed argumentation suggest that companies should consider use cases very carefully to determine which technology generates the broadest network effects in each particular situation.

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