News Release

Digital multi-sided platforms transform traditional value chains in business-to-business service sales

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Eastern Finland

Various digital platforms are becoming increasingly common in business-to-business (B2B) activities. They enable building competitiveness and boosting selling and buying. The platforms also offer different ways of building long-term customer relationships in B2B service sales. A recent study found that digital platforms are transforming traditional value chains based on linear value creation towards a platform-based, multi-sided, digital value network.

“The network is administered and orchestrated by the platform owner, who must attract a sufficient number of strategically compatible service providers and customers for the platform to start creating value for different parties,” says Minna Heikinheimo, Doctoral Researcher at the University of Eastern Finland.

Research carried out at the University of Eastern Finland and Tampere University of Applied Sciences shows how the transition from a traditional value chain to value orchestration in a platform-based network emphasises the role of the platform owner in developing a common sales strategy with strategic network actors. Successful organisation of sales through platform resources allows platform owners to manage larger networks with a smaller number of staff and to use different interaction methods to engage actors in network relationships.

“Strategic research on platforms from the perspective of sales has been lacking, as B2B sales have previously heavily focused on personal encounters between the seller and the customer.

The study was recently published in Industrial Marketing Management, one of the world’s leading scientific publications in the field of marketing and management. The qualitative longitudinal study monitored the change in value chains from the perspective of the platform owner through four service companies for four years. The study results were based on 45 interviews with platform owners and their customers.

So far, there has been considerably less research on platforms focusing on B2B than on platforms focusing on consumer business. The recent study fills a gap in previous research and provides a model of how the value chain is changing into a value network in B2B service sales. The study also provides practical recommendations for the planning of platform-based sales.

Research article: Minna Heikinheimo, Pia Hautamäki, Saara Julkunen, Jonna Koponen. (2024). B2B service sales on a digital multi-sided platform: Transformation from value chains to value networks, Industrial Marketing Management, 116, January 2024, 26-39,


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