Sources of value creation in aggregator platforms for digital services in agriculture – insights from likely users in Kenya

2021 | J. Kieti | T. Mwololo Waema | E. Bitange Ndemo | T. Kerage Omwansa | H. Baumüller

Published in Digital Business, Vol. 1-2. Download the article here.

Abstract

A fragmented digital agriculture ecosystem has been linked to the slow scale-out of digital platforms and other digital technology solutions for agriculture. This has undermined the prospects of digitalizing agriculture and increasing sectoral outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries. We conceptualized an aggregator platform for digital services in agriculture as a special form of digital platforms that can enhance the value and usage of digital technologies at the industry level. Little is known about how such a platform can create value as a new service ecology in agriculture. We set out to examine the underlying structure and prioritizations of value creation sources in such a platform from the perspective of likely users in Kenya. We used a parallel convergent mixed methods approach to the study. Confirmatory factor analysis of data from 405 respondents supported a two-factor structure, being an adaptation of the framework on value creation sources in e-Business by Amit, R., & Zott, C. (2001). We conceptualized the two factors as platform-wide efficiency and loyalty-centeredness. User experience related search costs were most impactful on platform-wide efficiency, while loyalty-centeredness was impacted most by providing guarantees for quality and reliability to platform users. Thematic analysis of 369 qualitative responses obtained platform inclusivity – comprising value chain coverage and digital inclusivity, as additional considerations for amplifying sector-wide benefits of an aggregator platform for digital services in agriculture. We discuss implications for policy and practice in the light of resource constraints and the promise to digitally transform agriculture in SSA countries.