A cloud-based digital platform ecosystem for SMEs
The focus of the research project "Bayern-Cloud" is how to design a scalable digital platform ecosystem (DPE), which helps to optimize cross-industry and industry-specific processes and promotes synergies. This DPE has to be implemented in a simple, fast, and cost-effective way, so it becomes viable in the medium term. This is achieved on the basis of a sustainable business mode and without constant funding by leveraging small and medium-sized companies to participate in the digitization. Therefore, the aim of this research project is to develop a cloud-based DPE for SMEs and to pilot it exemplarily for a selected industry. The core of this eco-system will be a software-based cloud platform, which enables various stakeholders to exchange services, information, resources, and other artifacts in a uniform way. This platform will enable a single multi-sided market for the players' (business) activities, resulting in a complete DPE. The objective thereby is to create an open and at the same time secure system that, through proper open source technologies, allows the appropriate adaptation and use of this cloud solution(s) for all market players. With this research project it is expected that, in addition to the reduction of the current barriers of acceptance and adaption related to the use of cloud solutions for SMEs, (new) competition will be promoted based on the infrastructure of Bayern-Cloud, which at the same time will be operated independent of system operator. Domain-specific questions and pilot implementations will be evaluated and prototypically executed within the framework of further accompanying research projects.
The project Bayern-Cloud will show which elements and systems are essential for the long-term oriented development and operation of platform ecosystems. The basis of the project is a reference architecture, which will be developed for the DPE, as well as suitable governance structures and appropriate business and operating models. These research outcomes can be used in both research and practice as a foundation, which has been missing so far, in order to create and study platform ecosystems. Furthermore, the barriers to the use of cloud solutions for SMEs will be overcome with the Bayern-Cloud. Obstacles addressed include security concerns, adaptability of cloud solutions, and independent certification. In addition, interoperability and portability will be ensured with respect to the platform independence of cloud service providers.