The COVID crisis has taught a lesson or two on how technology can help make businesses more resilient, flexible and adaptative. Many companies were able to survive by pivoting their business model in record time. Technology can be very good at this, but your platforms have to be designed the right way:
- Open: your data should be easily accessible by different applications, third-party services, business dashboards and infrastructure services (like performance monitors). The more open your platform is, the faster you will get value out of it.
- Secure: nowadays security should be embedded by design in every development since aspects like GDPR, cookies consents, infrastructure protection or a safe user authentication are a must.
- Expandable: Your platform should be able to augment your data with new insights, or even third-party data, to max out its performance.
- Flexible: and can change and respond. a good design should allow a sustained increase of functionalities over time.
- Resilient: If your platform is based on composable and modular pieces it will become way more resistant to any kind of problems, as risks would be isolated and development would be independent. Also, this design would allow platforms to scale different services for different capacities, enhancing its ability to serve a large number of requests with a very economic model.
My recommendation to implement this kind of platforms is to embrace open source technologies, cloud services (AWS, Azure, GC) and SAAS platforms (Stripe, Salesforce, Contentful, etc) in combination for maximum performance. Why? Because we shouldn't be reinventing the wheel.
Creating smart "plug and play" platforms will allow you to integrate any kind of software without knowing the source. This way you will be able to connect and disconnect any pieces as well as replacing them without taking down the whole thing. You grow your platform as you learn more about your customers, your product and the market. This should result in more customised experiences for your users, smarter usage of your data, less operational risk and more possibilities for automation, as systems will be interconnected (although not coupled!).
Business units need to become integrated within single business platforms that allow maximum interconnectivity to then use that power to deliver more specific application experiences.
Ultimately the future sits in leaving infrastructure details behind. The company of the future will purely focus on delivering its true and core business value, which will take its unique proposition to the market. Making wise decisions today on how to build and evolve your platform will eventually take you there.