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Enhancing client experiences through the platform economy


By Yasser Zaki: Global Partner Technology Strategist, Microsoft and Peter Menadue: SVP Microsoft Alliance, CX and Workplace Productivity

It’s the dawn of the platform economy; an era where the organisation has to undergo a fundamental shift in operating model from the traditional to the digital; where the risk moves from the consumer to the provider; and conversations around cost become conversations around enablement and experiences. Leveraging the potential of the platform isn’t just about doing things faster, cheaper and more reliably- it’s about the ability to expand into new client scenarios through the power of data, and provide new experiences that were previously thought impossible. (Findings from Dimension Data’s Hybrid Cloud 2018 IT Trends).

The potential of platform

The platform economy defines a shift from thinking about how to communicate and optimise internal resources, to considering external interactions and building an ecosystem. The applications, the data, the technology – these are the tools that can leverage this ecosystem and together they’re changing the way the business engages, delivers and consumes.

The potential that lies within this ecosystem has changed the audience. It’s no longer just the Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer paying attention to the cloud, the economies of the investment and the impact of public or on-premise. Today, the business executives are looking to how they can take advantage of what this cloud mecca provides as the platform model transforms speed, accessibility and capability. They’re lining up the applications and integrating the data to deliver improved business outcomes and strategic capabilities.  The inertia that hung on the heels of technology has been replaced with speed, agility and opportunity. It’s as easy for the business savvy to take advantage of platform economics as the technology savvy.

The platform economy is almost like the network effect of 10-15 years ago – that moment when we could connect people and suddenly new and different things started happening. That is what’s happening here at the application level as businesses are capable of doing things they have never done before.” – Peter Menadue, Dimension Data.

The cost conversation

When it comes to the conversation about money, the platform paradigm has changed the direction. Where leadership would talk about cost, the focus is now on enablement – how will this enable impact to market, speed of delivery and competitive advantage. The discussions around the value of the cloud have been replaced with its ability to unlock opportunity, largely because the value has been endlessly analysed and proven. According to a recent KPMG report ‘Making the Business Case for Cloud’, the cost of ownership gap of 30-40% between traditional IT and public cloud services is predicted to continue and drive growth in the market for high-quality externally hosted cloud capacity at more than 40% per year. For the organisation that shifts some or all of its infrastructure budget to the cloud, the cost saving can sit at anything from 10-20% of their annual IT budget.

Further insight provided by Accenture in its Platform Economy report reveals how the digital ecosystem is transforming the ways in which the business delivers value with 81% of executives putting the platform based business model at the core of their growth strategy. Forget about cost, it’s time to ask questions around the impact on the business and the ability to unlock new scenarios and markets.

“Platform economies represent $2.6 trillion in market capitalisation worldwide. How? Through the value-creating power of their platform ecosystems and digital assets. Within five years, a core component of corporate valuations and capital markets will be based on platform ecosystems and digital assets.”                        – Accenture, Platform Economy

Accelerating interactions

The ubiquity of platform allows for the immediacy of speed. In the past, analytics were complex, time consuming and demanded high resources. Reports took days, insights took weeks. The IT department had to pull the data from multiple sources and the results were rarely perfect. Today, these reports are built on the fly, systems are spun off and issues with performance can be upgraded on demand. The business wants more resources, more memory and more storage? A complete data warehouse can be built in a fraction of the time.

This immediacy of access to, and level of, insight provides the business with the ability to make more accurate decisions that allow for increased customer satisfaction, improved reliability, enhanced sales capabilities and richer experiences. Regardless of sector or customer, the platform potential allows for the organisation to gain a more accurate understanding of customer behaviour and find ways to serve the customer that transcend the traditional. Experience has become a commodity and the platform the plate on which it’s served.

The new platform services are as vital as the platform infrastructure when it comes to enabling the business and igniting performance. These services allow for the development of new business scenarios and services, providing them with the tools they need to deliver faster, more efficiently and to global markets. Platform-as-a-Service solutions around data, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), DevOps, AppDev, security and media are powerful tools that can help the business transform its capability and growth. Solutions such as Microsoft Azure, are successful examples of broad public cloud services that support these services and the PaaS evolution.

Application delivery

Pinned to the potential of the platform economy is the application. The business is now enabled to build different types of applications and experiences quickly, and they have the ability to serve multiple channels and adapt on demand. By sidestepping years of development and teams dedicated to application creation, the platform ignites DevOps and the ability to deliver constant updated, new facilities, fresh experiences and competitive advantages.

Driving the experiential benefits of the platform economy extend across the entire business ecosystem and into:

  1. Increasing the efficiency of re-engineering key processes
  2. Removing the complexities of DevOps and fresh solutions – there’s no need to ask how to build the test environment, or if the service will be enough, or if the support will be enough. Within the platform economy, developers can roll out solutions to the platform as they make changes and this has fundamentally changed the nature of the application and its accessibility.
  3. Online collaboration across geography, silo and system, allowing for richer engagement and, for the developer, fewer logistical nightmares.
  4. Peer-to-peer application development that’s leaner, more efficient and faster.
  5. Platform economics – the more people on the platform, the more it can scale and the more in-depth the portfolio and the potential.

To see all of the IT Trends for 2018 click here 

Join the webinar to understand how the platform economy can underpin the customer experience and unlock new scenarios and markets.

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