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Digital Platforms: Technology & Business Components

Room A310, January - May 2019

Faculty: Profs. Ramesh Sundararaman and V Sridhar

This 4 credit course is being offered as one of the electives for MTech, IMTech, MSc (DS) and MS students.

In this course, you will learn about the fundamentals of digital platforms, understand why platforms are superior to products and how you can create your impact / business as a platform.

The course is open to students & researchers who want to learn the latest about platforms; gain an opportunity to build platforms and think of strategies to achieve the requisite social / business impact.

This course provides an opportunity to work on real-life platform-related business ideas and case studies.

At the end of this course, participants will learn to:

  • Define & Recognize platform businesses
  • Design & Develop Interaction-First Platforms
  • Create Virality / Network Effects
  • Monetization approaches
  • Launch & Scale Platforms
  • Governance & Regulatory

Reference Books:

Evaluation

The participants of this course will be evaluated as per the following:
  • Class Participation (Discussion on Pre-readings, Team, Jan-Apr): 20% - Please come prepared to the class (read through the pre-readings for each class)
  • Best 2 of Quizzes (Individual, After every 6 weeks - Wk7, Wk13 and Wk19): 20%
  • End Exam (Individual, 1st week of May): 20%

  • Case Analysis / Platform Teardown (Critical review of a Platform - using relevant business and technology frameworks, Individual, Mar end): 20%
  • Group Project - Platform Business (2 Member Team - Midterm & Endterm Presentations): 20% :w

Syllabus

Wk 1 (Jan 01-03): Digital Platforms - Course Overview

Readings: None

Wk 2 (Jan 06-10): Platform Business Model - Motivation

Readings:
Activities:
  • A few students to present (5 minutes) on their favourite platforms on 9th Jan - Upgrad, Aadhar, Wikipedia, HackerEarth, Github, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Gojek, ...
  • Form Groups of 2 members (one with Customer / Revenue focus, another with Product / Design focus) and be ready with your team details - Submit the team details by 14th Jan
  • Choose a platform startup / app of your choice and submit the name of the startup / app by 21st Jan - you need to conduct an analysis / teardown of the platform - using relevant business & technology frameworks
  • As a team, start working towards identifying a commercial / social challenge that you would want to address using a platform. Submit details of your challenge by 23rd Jan

Wk3 (Jan 13-17): Platform Business Model - Pipes vs Platforms

Readings:
Activities:
  • Submit your 2 member team details by 14th Jan

Wk4 (Jan 20-24): Platform Business Model - Strategy

Readings: Activities:
  • Before 23rd Jan, 8:00am: Submit through email, the name of the Platform (startup / app). You could choose any Platform Startup / app of your choice. Kindly note this is an individual activity. You need to conduct an analysis / teardown of the platform - using the relevant business & technology concepts that we learnt during this course
  • On the 23rd: Introduce your team and each member's focus first. Then as a team, present an elevator pitch of the commercial / social challenge that you would want to address using a platform

Wk5 (Jan 27-31): Platform Business Model - Virality & Network Effects

Readings:

Wk6 (Feb 3-7): Platform Business Model - Monetization

Activities:
  • This Week's Classes will be taken by Prof. Sridhar

Wk7 (Feb 10-14): Platform Business Model - Monetization

Readings:
Activities:
  • 11th Feb class will be taken by Prof. Sridhar - In this class, the students will be presenting their thoughts on Monetization, as detailed out by Prof. Sridhar
  • External Talk by Mr. Salil, founder of QueryHome | AnswerCart on 13th Feb - Here is an opportunity for you to understand directly from the founder of a platform - their thoughts, strategies - and relate to the concepts learnt in class

Wk8 (Feb 17-21): Design & Develop Interaction-First Platforms

Readings:
Activities:
  • Quiz 1 will be held on Feb 18. This would revolve around all topics discussed in class during the past weeks. The duration of the quiz would be 60 minutes

Wk9 (Feb 24-28): Design & Develop Interaction-First Platforms

Readings:
  • External Talk by Mr. Saurabh Saha, founder of TalentPegs and GaliJobs on 25th Feb - Here is an opportunity for you to understand directly from the founder of a platform - his thoughts, strategies - and relate to the concepts learnt in class

Wk10 (Mar 2-7): Mid-Term Project Presentation Week

Activities:
  • On 5th March, 2:00 - 5:00pm - Each of the 10 teams will present in detail (10 min + 5 min feedback) the progress made over the past 1 month on the project. The other teams will provide feedback to the presenting team. Please load all your presentation in advance on the classroom laptop

Wk11 (Mar 9-13): Design & Develop Interaction-First Platforms

Activities:
  • External Talk by Sonata on 17th Mar - Here is an opportunity for you to understand directly - their thoughts, strategies - and relate to the concepts learnt in class

Wk12 (Mar 16-20): Platform Ventures - Launch Planning

Activities:
  • Select students could also get an opportunity to join the RISE Startup Summit, to tbe held this week
  • RISE 2020 will be held between 19-21 Mar

Wk13 (Mar 23-27): Platform Ventures - Launch Planning

Activities:
  • Quiz 2 will be held on Mar 24th. This would revolve around all topics discussed in class during the past weeks

Wk14 (Mar 30-Apr 3): Platform Ventures - Launch Planning

Readings:
  • Regulatory Awareness and Adherence
Activities:
  • All individual paper submissions are due before 1st April 8:00am
  • This Week's Classes will be taken by Prof. Sridhar

Wk15 (Apr 6-10): Platform Ventures - Governance

Readings:

Wk16 (Apr 13-17): Plaform Ventures - Metrics

Readings:
Activities:
  • Select students could also get an opportunity to join the IIITB-Sonata Platform Summit, to tbe held this week
  • IIITB-IMACX Digital Platform Strategy Summit will be held on 17th Apr, in our campus - jointly with Sonata Software

Wk17 (Apr 20-24): Summing Up

Readings:

Wk18 (Apr 27-May 1): Final Project Presentations

Activities:
  • This week, each of the 10 teams presents in detail (10 min + 5min feedback) the progress made over the past 1 month on the project. The other teams will provide feedback to the presenting team.

Wk19 (May 4-9): Exam Week

Activities: