Major successful companies of today have Digital Platform in the core of their business. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Uber, and many more companies have proved that Digital Platforms are essential to succeed in this generation. Irrespective of the nature of your business, you need to transform quickly to a technology company so that you can reap the benefit of latest technologies such as Big Data and Analytics, Cloud, Mobility and Social to name a few. Digital platform plays a major role in making your company a successful technology company.
So the question is what is a Digital platform? How it can help in growing a business? What’s the correct strategy and approach to run a platform led business?
Digital Platforms are engines of growth and multi-sided marketplaces as they facilitate transactions, interactions and transfer of value among various ecosystems which would not have been possible otherwise. A large number of people on a platform creates momentum and the network effect benefitting all and any new entrant. It helps to grow the ecosystem of customers, service providers, and sellers in the overall value chain. These platforms hold tremendous value in terms of data and they are a huge factory of data management. They reach out to millions of users thanks to the technological advancement in the Cloud and easy access to Mobile and Social media.
One can think of a platform not just as a technology but as a “service”, or a “product.” Platforms focus on business solutions to serve clients (internal or external) and to supply other platforms. They operate as independent entities that bring together business, technology, governance, processes, and people management and are empowered to move quickly. They work in an agile manner, delivering the solution itself, enabling continuous business-led innovation, and developing and running all necessary IT. A platform-based company will have 20 to 40 platforms, each big enough to provide an important and discrete service but small enough to be manageable. To simplify platform management, it helps to group them into three broad areas: Customer journeys, Business capabilities, and Core IT capabilities.
For example, in personal banking, the customer journey platforms cover the customer experiences of searching, opening an account, getting a mortgage, and so on. The business-capability platforms deliver banking solutions, such as payments and credit analytics, and support capabilities, such as employee pension management, visual dashboarding, and management information systems (MIS). Finally, the core IT platforms provide the shared technology on which the customer journeys and business capabilities run, such as the cloud platform, the data analytics environment, and the set of IT connectivity solutions.
How it helps in Growth:
The digital platform based approach allows tech companies to move faster, more flexible, and at greater scale than their competitors. IT becomes an enabler and driver of continuous innovation and adaptation. The modular, platform-based IT setup enables them to accelerate and innovate. They can experiment, fail, learn, and scale quickly: they can get products to market 100 times faster than their peers (days instead of weeks).
A digital platform also helps companies in accessing and analyzing the humungous amount of data which helps them understand customer behavior, fill process gaps, improve customer experience, decide on future innovations and leapfrog to a new business category enabling growth.
How to take a platform approach:
Becoming a platform-based company goes a step further than what most think of as traditionally transforming IT. It is a fundamental organizational and operational change to create an IT environment that runs as a set of platforms. As with any major transformation, it requires strong CEO leadership, quality teams, strong project management, and communication, as well as value assurance. Following four actions help tremendously in the successful completion of the shift to platform-based IT:
Assess the fitness of the platform portfolio- they can be categorized into Fit, Healthy, and Sick to have organization focus accordingly based on some pre-defined features.
Set up the initial platform teams and mission control office.
Transform One Platform at a time.
Manage through the executive committee for top-level engagement and approvals.
Novum Digital (www.novum.co.in) focuses on Digital Experience Empowerment for its clients through dedicated services on Digital Strategy, Digital Content, Social and Advertisement.