Digitalization and its relevant disruptive technologies have changed people’s daily life. Business models which are the backbone of organizations are no exception. Along with the emergence of digitalization, the concept of business models has changed and evolved into new forms. Digitalization has changed the structure and components of the traditional business models, the relation between suppliers and customers, and the way of value creation and capture. Thus, it is necessary to investigate new alternative business models for organizations to secure and sustain them in their businesses.
This study aims at exploring and studying the platform business models from the owner’s perspective in the context of the port of Oulu to improve the understanding of the platform ecosystem, stakeholder's roles and needs. Also, scalability, replicability, and sustainability of the port business model were studied. This thesis applied the qualitative research method and inductive research approach. The collection of data was done through an interview, two workshops, a literature review, and a single case study in the port of Oulu. The qualitative research method provided the opportunity of a broader understanding of previous research, the case study, its limitations, and opportunities regarding alternative platform business models.
In the port ecosystem, the main goal is to provide a trustworthy, high capacity, and low latency connections for services utilized within the port. Also, optimizing the utilization of all network capabilities and opportunities locally inside the port area. The structure in the port includes physical and digital infrastructures such as 4G/5G wireless connections, fixed optical fiber connection, sensor networks, and data analytics solutions. The processes in the port address activities and services related to the port structure. The contingencies are regulations, standards, and local policies that influence port activities. A shift in port goals is expected to happen as modern communication networks and computing technologies offer further opportunities for trustworthy mobile connectivity, data storage, transfer and analytics, and external service. Real-time data processing, open data will be possible through low latency wireless technologies on the edge. The information service platforms could be used to optimize daily operations and enable new businesses. Global communication standards and data regulations will assure stakeholders about the conformity of business transactions.
The business model scalability in the port can happen through innovative algorithms for analyzing, managing, and increasing the port data. The replicability improves by new material tracking and workflows using the port data and new subscription algorithms. Sustainability requires optimizing the cost of the digital services, developing digitalized algorithms instead of manual processes, improving the performance of services, and the whole port digital ecosystem, monitoring the environmental performance and creating a system that can monitor all the traffic in the port area.