The Platform Is the Innovation


For more big technology ideas of 2017 and beyond, check out our “12 Days of Digital” series.

At times, technology hype is so egregious that one may be forgiven for nodding off at bold claims such as: “It’s these new [platform-based] business models and the ecosystems being built around them that are driving the most profound change in the global macroeconomic environment since the Industrial Revolution.”

However, you might want to stay awake for this one. Business leaders and analysts agree that digital technology platforms are becoming disruptive innovation drivers in every industry, from Alphabet, Salesforce, and other born-digital organizations to mainstream corporations in the manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and financial services industries, to name a few. Soon every business that’s still in business will be a digital business—yours included.

Think of a digital technology platform as a collection of components built to enable a specific digital business model. They come in flavors. For example, business ecosystem platforms support the creation of, and connection to, external ecosystems, marketplaces, and communities. API management, control, and security are the main elements. Other types include Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, analytics and intelligence platforms, customer experience platforms, and information system platforms.

Platforms and models go hand in hand. The new breed of platform-driven business models creates value through the interaction of the platform with an ecosystem of developers, publishers, content owners, and others. In short, companies can create value by tapping into resources and capacity that they don’t have to own themselves.

Once the sole province of high-tech enterprises, digital technology platforms are going mainstream. If you are an IT leader, start by mapping each of your organization’s strategic objectives to a specific form of digital technology platform. Next, determine what platform capabilities must be modified or added to meet your requirements. For example, IoT initiatives may require adaptive security. The results of that exercise will inform the technology road map required to support your digital business. You may not know it, but there’s a good chance your competitors have already started. Now is no time for complacency.


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