Digital Platform Ontology

In the following we describe the ontology modules for a digital platform and the digital platform types:

Digital platform

  • A digital platform is a service offering (Nardi et al. 2015)
  • This service offering is made by the management of the digital platform towards a certain ‘target platform user community’ consisting of ‘target platform users’.
  • This service offering is enabled by software (Evans and Gawer 2016)
  • This service offering includes platform supported interaction between the  (Kenney and Zysman 2016)

Market sides

  • A One-Sided platform is a service offering to a single side
Multi-sided (part1)
  • A MS platform is a service offering to multiple sides.
  • Users of both sides are affiliated with the platform after a user affiliation action. This affiliation is a platform user agreement and can be by registration, subscription, main content creation, making a transaction and/or making an investment.
  • The software enabling the MS platform offering allows for interactions between the users of at least two sides
Multi-sided (part 2: user roles)
  • A MS platform ensures at least two user roles
  • User instances of different roles are allowed to perform different user actions in- stantiated by the user action types entity
  • A user can change its user role by performing a user affiliation action.


  • Registration is both a user affiliation action and digital content creation action.
  • Subscription is a user affiliation action
  • This subscription can be a component of the registration process, but this is not al- ways the case
  • A subscription includes one to multiple payments by the user
Main content creation
  • Content creation is a user affiliation action
  • Theres is one side creating a main digital content and one side consuming it.
  • A MS platform user can be both a creator and a consumer on the platform.
  • A MS platform allows at least one side of the registered users called ‘offering crea- tors’ to create an offering by filling in the offering description.
  • The created ‘offering within the platform’ is offered by the platform management and the offering creator targeting the platform customer community.
  • After the offering is created, a targeted platform customer can enter into a transaction changing the role of offering creator to hired provider, and the role of target platform customer to platform customer
  • The transaction results in a delivery by a platform user called a ‘hired delivered’
  • A capital-seeking agent receives a certain resource from a capital-giving agent via a social construct called ‘platform investment’
  • In return, the capital-seeking agent commits to a future reimbursement


  • For a decentralised platform, the users can choose themselves with what users to interact by performing a search through the content.
  • A decentralised MS offering within the platform is called a ‘listing’.
  • For a centralised MS platform, it is the software matching the target customer with the deliverer of the product and/or service.


  • The registration for users of all sides is without any manual checks
  • Both the hired provider and platform customer are persons.

Offering orientation

  • The delivery of a product-oriented offering involves at least one product
  • The delivery of a result-oriented offering involves at least one hired deliverer
  • . The delivery of a user-oriented offering is both a result-oriented and product-oriented delivery

Immediate access-based

  • For an immediate access-based service offering the customer expects imitate access to the service.


  • The delivery is user-oriented
  • The product that is used in a user-oriented delivery is also used by the hired provider.