ISPL-MDP-M: Managing digital platforms (lecture & exercise)


Digital platforms are ubiquitous in industries and in society and both researchers and practitioners have recognized their disruptive potential. Large technology companies, such as Apple, Alibaba, Amazon, or SAP, rely on a platform business model and the emergence of the thriving platform economy has contributed to the meteoric rise of some platform owners to top the lists of the most valuable companies in the world. The central actors in the context of digital platforms include the platform owner that provides the platform itself along with interfaces and other resources, outside third-party actors that provide complementary products and services, as well as the users of the platform. For example, in the context of mobile app ecosystems, complementors can leverage platform functionality of iOS or Android to create apps and use Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store to offer them to iPhone or Android users.

In this course, we develop a comprehensive understanding of the management of digital platforms through an in-depth exploration of the roles and mechanisms of digital platforms and the surrounding ecosystems. After laying the foundations of digital platform management, we will dive into advanced questions of platform design and management, e.g., related to platform launch, to governing third-party contributions, or to key success factors for the various actors in digital platform ecosystems. The course relies on both theoretical insights and practical cases across industries and companies.

Learning goals

  • After the course, participants will be able to...
  • Recognize the growing importance of digital platforms
  • Analyze the underlying mechanisms and the roles of different actors in digital platform ecosystems
  • Make decisions regarding the governance of different types of platforms
  • Develop strategies and business models for complementor organizations that benefit from and depend on digital platforms


  • 6 ECTS
  • Language: English
  • Assessment: Exam, bonus points for exercises throughout the semester (more information in class)

Dates and time

Tuesdays, 16-20pm, Starts on April 16