Skip to main content

Technology shifts happen: Are you confident to manage yours?

From product to platform

Shifts happen. We live in a subscription economy, where many of us now pay for services instead of buying a product. We watch films and music without ever buying a DVD or CD. We pay for travel using our watches. Crypto-currency is thriving.

Similarly there is a shift when companies move from products to platforms. This is an increasingly important subject, not just for the big tech players like Microsoft, Google or Apple, but also for a growing number of businesses who have traditionally enabled their technology needs with products.

The undeniable shift

Many companies are still limiting themselves to products, without turning to the platform as the foundation of their technology landscape. Whilst products can be influential they will eventually reach a tipping point after which commoditisation or obsolescence will occur.

No longer limit yourself. Start to look at the way your business needs to grow. As with any shift there are high stakes and often some urgency to make the right choice.

The interconnected ecosystem: How can you build confidence?

A platform is a suite of capabilities, coupled with a surrounding ecosystem of resources, enabling growth through connection. True value comes not only from features, but from the ability to securely connect external tools, data, teams and processes.

1) Core capability: Seek value that matches your needs
Ensuring that the core competency of the platform meets your organisation’s needs is important. Don’t buy a compliance platform, if you aren’t planning on managing your regulatory change activities, compliance communications, standard operating procedures or guidance. You only need a global risk assessment platform if you are planning to mitigate your risks.

Most shifts happen when companies take advantage of core competencies to build defensible products. Apple capitalised on design capability, Amazon leveraged logistics strength and machine learning dominance, and Google continues to innovate on knowledge capital. Seek out the value that your platform choice provides and match it to your needs.

2) Breadth drives innovation: Manage and capitalize on the multiplier effect
A platform doesn’t usually try to do everything, instead it provides a foundation to stack technology using an ecosystem of users, collaborators and partners who contribute differently to generate innovative ideas. One customer enhancement will usually impact another customer’s experience within platforms, unlocking new value which leads to enhanced access to innovation for all.

3) Integration: Build synergy with legacy systems
Most companies are forced to supplement their original product suite with external tools, which often require complex integration, customisation, time and money. APIs can help businesses exchange data and we often hear companies asking if a particular technology will interface with their systems. Most technology can. It’s like asking in-store whether you can buy two items to make an outfit.

The answer will always be positive, but whether you have the price, service, longevity, and feel-good factor is more often the challenge. Platforms, by design, help different tools work together and share information. Forward-thinking platform owners will seek adjacent products or marketplaces to expand their horizons and benefit the user.

4) If the price is right: Seek enterprise level pricing
Most traditional software providers have moved to an ‘enterprise licence’ which helps to control costs as a platform expands within your organisation. However, where a platform really begins to create value is from within the ecosystem, where the platform economy is not a straight transaction, more of a cut of a transaction.

Ecosystem selection

When selecting your platform, the most important factor is whether the core capability area of the platform serves your needs. If yes, then you should consider:

  • What is the breadth of the partners and third-parties around the platform?
  • Is the ecosystem healthy, growing and scalable?
  • Where is the platform implemented, working, and referenced?
  • Can your employees connect across devices, colleagues, and processes in their day?
  • How easy is it to work with the platform APIs and are they stable?
  • Does the platform meet your required data location and security needs?

Most businesses are facing the challenge of achieving stable, scalable and innovative digital transformation in a diverse and ever-changing technology landscape. We believe the platform business model has shifted the way business and technology work together.

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey