Architecting Platforms as a Business

NUS Institute of Systems Science

NUS Institute of Systems Science


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Who should attend

This is an intermediate course is intended for managers, professionals, and business and technical architects operating in the digital product space, who need to have a practice based course to conceptualise and design a platform for the business growth. Managers and professionals working on strategy and business or digital product innovations can also benefit.

Participants are expected to come from both corporate enterprises and start-ups, and are expected to interact to share views and experiences while working in their respective teams.


  • Participants with 3 to 5 years of working experience in product management or with functional experience in a specific domain transitioning to a larger digital role would benefit most from the course; have a strong interest in digital product and services and an understanding of how these enhance business competitiveness; foundational insights into technology and its architecture
  • This is an intensive, fully hands-on course, and participants are expected to do prior readings, class preparation and project work outside of in-class sessions over a 4-week period.

NUS-ISS also offers a range of other courses in product management and design thinking for participants new to digital.

About the course

Traditional brick-and-mortar companies are embracing the concept of platform-based business models to survive in the digital economy. “A platform is a business model that allows multiple participants (producers and consumers) to connect to it, interact with one another, and create and exchange value.[1] The most successful companies in the digital era including Alibaba, Amazon, Facebook, DBS (DigiBank) and Disney (MagicBands) were all designed on platform business models.” (Source: “Insurance beyond digital: The rise of ecosystem and platforms,” McKinsey & Company).

A “Think Platform” approach requires a change of perspective, focusing not on the inside-out approach of designing the business but on the outside-in approach, starting with the Ecosystem. Value creation amongst entities of the platform Ecosystem drives success of the platform.

Key Takeaways

At the end of the course, the participant is expected to be able to :

  • Understand the role of platforms and challenges of using a platform model for business
  • Acquire key skills in designing a business platform using tool kits
  • Define the technical architecture to support the business needs
  • Defining key enablers for the platform like Governance, Trust, Brand
  • Demonstrate understanding and skills acquired through the design of a platform for business and to present to a panel for assessment
  • The course will take the participants through design phases with practical hands-on activities. Participants are expected to do some pre-reading to be up to speed. Case based discussions, industry practitioners sharing will be used to augment learning

What Will Be Covered

Platform Business

  • Types of platforms models
  • Impact on business
  • Role of ecosystems in platform
  • Phases of platform design

Ecosystem Analysis and Profiling

  • Entities, roles and platform participants
  • Platform modelling tools
  • Workshop on ecosystem profiling

The two Engines of platform design

  • Design considerations for the transaction and learning engines
  • Value Capture
  • Pricing and Monetisation
  • Workshop on transaction identification for value exchange and promotion of platform usage

Metrics and Platform Enablers

  • What to measure and why
  • Strategic enablers – Governance, Trust, Brand
  • Key enablers – User experience, payments
  • Risk Assessments
  • Workshop to identify success metrics and KPIs and how to design enablers

Technology Architecture for the Platform

  • The Platform Technical Reference (PTR) model and the “to-be” building blocks and components for the Platform Strategy.
  • The principles, standards & best practices to make the right technology decisions
  • The Gaps Analysis matrix between the “as-is” and the “to-be” Technology Architectures
  • The Minimum Viable Platform (MVP) for specific business products and services with a view for platform growth and sustainability
  • Design considerations for security, reliability, scalability, sustainability, maintainability, growth, comprehensiveness, integration for business and market needs.
  • Workshop on technical platform challenges to enable business alignment

Architectural Challenges

  • Addressing architectural challenges in platform design
  • Addressing business decisions through the technical design
  • Workshop project presentation
  • Assessment and reflection


Vincent Lau

Vincent is the CTO of Voyager Innovations Singapore, a company that builds digital innovations to transform growth markets. Some of these innovations include the award-winning TackThis (an omnichannel store-builder and marketplace-builder), and PayMaya (a popular Philippines digital payment provi...

Felicitas Seah

Felicitas is a member of the Project Management Practice at the Institute of System Science, NUS where she teaches and consults in project management practices and soft skills for post graduate students and industry professionals, working with corporate clients to deliver customized training for ...

Richard Tan

Richard lectures in project management competency development and training courses; the Certified Outsourcing Manager (Associate) for IT Programme; the Certified Enterprise Architecture Practitioner Programme; and the Master of Technology Programme that include IT Service Management and Data Ware...

Architecting Platforms as a Business at NUS Institute of Systems Science

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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