With the current trend in digital transformation, the world’s most forward-looking organizations are redefining how products and services are exchanged. Platforms have evolved and feature an array of advanced technologies that when integrated with legacy infrastructure, essentially become the organization’s new operating system; providing a modern, value-rich experience for clients, partners, and employees.
A move to digital platforms can significantly enhance business agility, speed, and flexibility as they digitize value streams. Ultimately, they provide a means to effectuate new strategic directions, quickly scale operations, and speed products to market to meet advancing client needs.
It’s important for management teams to understand that creating a platform requires significant technology foresight. It involves integrating a vast array of technologies, such as microservices-based, service-oriented architectures, cloud technologies, Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and integration of application programming interfaces (APIs) with legacy systems. Platform building also leans heavily on data science, design thinking, and deep industry and process knowledge to unite physical and virtual activities across value streams.
Having a Managed Services Provider (MSP) aid in the digital transformation process will simplify the approach drastically. Before venturing forth, the MSP will assess the organization’s technological aptitude and address any outdated practices. Ensure an ability to sustain the platform and related products long-term through capabilities training, user experience design, product-centricity, design/coding principles, and automation.
Below are five key considerations to enhance and accelerate the journey to becoming a platform-based digital business:
- Focus on strategic intent and secure executive investment
An organization’s market-focused goals and strategy should dictate the need for a platform approach, whether the aim is to expand into new regions or markets, launch new business models to market products and services, or offer radically new digital ways of doing business.
Form a steering committee with representatives from across the business. Include leaders of functions that fall within the program’s reach, as impacts will be felt across ecosystems as value streams are digitized to connect key stakeholders – employees, vendors, partners, and clients.
A qualified MSP will draft a thorough roadmap and address required budgets to invest in the needed tools, technologies, and approaches. The roadmap should include an action plan that supports needed workforce enablement, process redesign, and cultural alignment.
- Align with the application modernization strategy
To align the application modernization process accordingly, it’s important to assess legacy IT applications that will be included. This will help determine how best to onboard each application to cloud infrastructure and where remediation is required. Focus on implementing a capability-led application transition. Start by value-stream mapping each business capability. Then, identify where newly developed products are viable and required to optimize processes along the value stream.
- Adopt client-centricity with a product mindset
Focus on enriching the user experience and delivering quality products with maintainability, speed-to-value and a high return on investment. Software applications produced by IT teams need to meet ever-rising user expectations by performing on par with commercial code across all dimensions, spanning availability, usability, scalability, fault-tolerance, privacy, and security.
Collect metrics that matter and empower frontline workers to capture the voice of the customer to fuel continuous improvement. Embedding a product-centric mindset to software engineering requires the IT organization to take a systematic approach. Instate techniques such as continuous collaboration, customer journey mapping, data analytics and customer insight.
- Embrace modern technologies
A platform strategy extends well beyond migrating legacy applications to cloud ecosystems; it requires new technologies to power advanced capabilities and connectivity. Identify where productivity accelerators, such as process automation, can improve consistency and reduce manual work. Implement a tools-based approach for better work execution and communications across teams, improving efficiency and traceability. Seek more systematic use of high-quality, reusable software components and frameworks.
- Enable a cultural shift and business alignment
To avoid potential roadblocks, nurture an open culture that encourages experimentation. Establish a flexible funding model to help speed product and platform development. Provide continuous feedback, rewards, recognition, and performance enhancements. Engage a variety of learning methods, from online and instructor-led to hands-on – allow team members to experience how things actually work. Create synergies across IT and the business to understand priorities, define any stucks, and create solutions. Focus collaborations on problem solving and instate an effective feedback loop and value alignment.
Lloyd Group can set you in the right direction towards adopting a modern platform. In time, a digital transformation establishes an ecosystem that brings producers and consumers together through digital channels that create strong, compounding network effects. While you can integrate with legacy systems, ultimately it is a means to digitize business processes and capabilities, unlocking greater value and delivering users a modern experience. However, it’ll require the support of a solid software engineering foundation and deep product-management skills to deploy enabling technologies and new operational paradigms. Contact us to learn more!