When thinking about platform development, it’s important to keep in mind that a platform is a collection of two or more technologies working together in harmony to create value. Usually, there’s a point of feeding data into the platform, which then moves it through the ecosystem, augmenting, extracting, adding and cleaning the data according to preset business rules (or even AI) to reach a point where a result (value) is produced.
The movement and processing of the data is usually autonomous, with viewports into the process in a format that’s legible by humans such as logs and reports.
Why you need a platform
Platforms can achieve many goals for a business. Notably, we think of the sales journeys and customer journeys first and foremost as they are the ones that make us money. However, platforms can also be employed for other less-visible, inward-facing endeavours throughout your business.
You can employ technology to help you with your HR efforts or consolidate human resource management into a single point of contact for staff and management. Perhaps you need a way to empower external suppliers to update their stock lists or pricing autonomously, consequently increasing your efficiency and making you money along the way. This can be achieved through the development of your own proprietary platforms.
Combine technologies and wield their power
Enterprise-level PaaS (Platforms as a Service) opens doors to things like massive computing power, data translation and augmentation services. Due to their ease of access, they aren’t limited to enterprise-level projects only, but can be employed by even the smallest of systems.
Combining two core digital structures can create a space that matches supply with demand – think of Airbnb. Its digital platform perfectly aligns travellers (people looking for a place to sleep) with homeowners (people who have a place to sleep). In fact, to underscore the merit of digital platforms, take a look at this World Development Report 2019 that compares Airbnb with its competitor (that doesn’t have a platform).
There are significant potential performance gains for your company. According to management consulting company McKinsey: “Companies with platforms had an annual boost in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 1.4% compared with the 0.3% gains of non-players.” We see these performance gains with our own clients. All you have to do is to take a look at our case studies.
Own your product
If you want to build a business on a platform, it’s in your best interests to hire your own developers, designers and develop that solution internally. Too often, companies create business-critical software systems but fail to understand how to maintain and document them. Developers leave the equation and the owners end up with tools they don’t know how to operate, extend or maintain. It’s important to own your product end to end, and that includes the documentation and ecosystems for it.
Managing your own product development team is no walk in the park. It requires money, commitment and, most of all, qualified people and an internal business structure. Just the thought of an entire new department to develop business-critical systems is enough to induce the thousand-yard stare for most business owners and management teams.
A pragmatic alternative to managing your own product development team is to partner with League Digital, reach a retainer agreement and be the product owner who drives the development proactively by means of proven processes. If executed correctly, the process will allow you to have full control of every aspect of the life cycle and decision-making.
Boost your digital transformation with League Digital
Digital is our playground and our clients let us play. By this, we mean that we take all our clients through a “gameplan” session to identify the right platform(s) to use in relation to the context of the business, what they want to achieve and their target audience.
This “tinkering” has led to the creation of apps, e-commerce websites and the use of a variety of marketing platforms. Download our product brochure for a deeper understanding of what we can build for you.