Britt Technology Impact Series

The Power of Platforms to Transform Business and Customer Relationships

October 26, 2016


The organization of major sectors of the economy are in the midst of a transition from well-defined linear value chains to a more distributed form that we describe as a platform. Advances in computation, network connectivity, and business model design are making it possible for platforms to bring significant new sources of supply to market.

Geoff described how platforms work, the varying structures they assume, the numerous ways they facilitate innovation and value creation, and the wide range of users they serve. He discussed how platforms are disrupting — and creating opportunity — across numerous industries. Where corporations once focused on optimizing internal operations, there is increasing need to coordinate value creation that takes place outside of firm boundaries, suggesting the need for new capabilities to mobilize and coordinate external producer and consumer communities.

All of these factors are impacting customer relationships and business dynamics. Geoff talked about the power of platforms to transform customer relationships and empower them in business relationships.

thayer_logoGeoffrey Parker is a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College where he also serves as Director of the Master of Engineering Management Program. In addition, he is a Research Fellow at MIT’s Initiative for the Digital Economy and serves on the General Electric (GE) Africa technical workforce advisory board.

Parker has made significant contributions to the field of network economics and strategy as co-developer of the theory of “two-sided” markets. He is co-author of the book “Platform Revolution.” His current research includes studies of network platform strategy and technical/economic systems to integrate distributed energy resources. Parker’s research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and multiple corporations.  He serves or has served as associate editor at multiple journals and as a National Science Foundation panelist. Parker is a frequent speaker at academic conferences and industry events and advises senior leaders on their organization’s platform strategies.

He received a B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University, M.S. in electrical engineering (Technology and Policy Program) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Ph.D. in management science from MIT. Before attending MIT, he held positions in engineering and finance at GE Semiconductor in North Carolina and at GE Healthcare in Wisconsin. Additional information can be found,, and on Twitter: @g2parker

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