Reaching as far back as 1180 AD, the world witnessed the first platform business model when the Count of Champagne set up the Champagne Fairs. (1) With his platform in place, many saw the Count’s business model prove lucrative to all parties involved: buyers, sellers, and most notably, the platform operator sitting in the middle. It was a win-win-win.

While there are instances of multi-sided platform business models, most platforms usually comprise two sides: supply and demand. In today’s tech-driven world, we see these platform business models broker the two sides in the form of Amazon (consumer goods), Airbnb (rental property), Uber (rideshare), Groupon (dining and entertainment), Instacart (grocery delivery), and Robinhood (market trading).

Fast forward just over 800 years. What started in 1988 in China as an insurance company, Ping An, now describes itself as a compilation of 5 platforms comprised of five ecosystems — financial services, health care, smart cities, automobiles, and real estate. While each platform can operate independently, Ping An has become a top 10 financial institution (2) by bringing them together, amassing insights from data from each, connecting government, patients, medical service providers, health insurers, and technology, all designed to grow the business with an aim to provide the most effective health care possible.

As of August 2022, Code and Pepper listed 50 digital banking platforms3, demonstrating that financial services organizations of all shapes and sizes recognize the potential and are getting into the platform business model game. It’s not just digital core banking services. Consider shared/connected capabilities provided through platform lending (Kiva), debt collection (TrueAccord), commercial banking (nCino), and wealth management (Betterment).

With a platform business model, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are often replaced with digital equivalents that can scale globally and where the supply chain for these products and services being offered are brokered by the platforms, many times tapping into underpromoted providers and serving untapped consumers.

Some of the core capabilities that can be found in such a platform that brings value to the entire ecosystem include one or more of the following:

  • Search / Matchmaking: The platform enables users to search for items of interest
  • Credibility / Trust: The platform bridges the trust gap between providers and consumers
  • Facilitate / Transact: The platform facilitates (brokers) the financial transaction
  • Delivery / Support: The platform brings end-to-end backing for the transaction lifecycle

The platform business model works by bringing together multiple parties where they all benefit from economies of scale, making it an attractive model for organizations, aged and young. Some additional benefits of a platform business model can include:

  • Faster innovation
  • Simplified operations
  • Improved quality
  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced risk
  • Expanded capacity
  • Improving inventory
  • Increased trust
  • Boosted sales

These benefits ultimately boil down to saving money, reaching new customers, increasing transactions, generating greater revenue, and extracting more profits. It’s an alluring prospect, which is why we see platforms playing a significant role for 7 of the ten largest companies in Asia. (4)

This is much like the global market and is undoubtedly because the growth in market capitalization for platform companies has outperformed traditional firms by three and one-half times. (5)

79% of banking executives globally say that adopting a platform business model will help them achieve sustainable differentiation and competitive advantage with benefits across multiple dimensions. (6)

The value of the platform business model

Companies require access to proven multi-disciplinary teams and agile methodologies to drive value through iterations of ideation, collaboration, analysis, feedback, and activation.

As described in a previous blog, FinServ IT Executives Must Look at Projects and Staffing Differently: Ask, What’s the Business Trying to Accomplish?, we explained how the Taos team successfully accelerated the digital transformation process for a large financial institution based in California by implementing a “best-in-class” assessment, design, and deployment methodology that helped the bank execute its strategic goals: (7)

  • Overall productivity and time to market were improved with a 95% reduction in deployment times.
  • End-to-end provisioning lifecycles were reduced from months to days.
  • An estimated 40% improved developer productivity.

“Global outperformers in the IBM 2021 CEO Study partner for needed capabilities 97% more often than underperformers.” (8)

There are three activities executives can utilize to help them along their journey to accelerate their business outcomes through a platform business model:

  1. Focus first on the outcomes before selecting technology
  2. Embrace hybrid cloud to achieve the outcomes
  3. Leverage partnerships to complete the circle and close the skills gap

In the next blog, we will cover these 3 points in greater detail. In the meantime, know that Taos is here to help your firm embrace the hybrid cloud and support your efforts with the skills and knowledge to ensure your journey to a platform business model is successful.

For more information about how financial services firms like yours work with Taos, visit


1 – Everything We Know About Platforms We Learned from Medieval France, Harvard Business Review, March 2016

2 – Ping An: Pioneering the New Model of “Technology-driven Finance”, HBR, April 2020

3 – The List of Digital Banking Platforms, Code & Pepper, August 2022

4 – The Platform Economy: Southeast Asia’s Digital Growth Catalyst, Tech for Good Institute, October 2021

5, 8 – 2022 Global Outlook for Banking and Financial Markets, IBM IBV, February 2022

6 – Banking on the platform economy, IBM IBV, December 2019

7 – Taos Accelerates a Digital Transformation for a Large Financial Institution, Taos