How do most digital transformation initiatives run? They are well planned -- at least on paper. The smaller initiatives even manage to succeed, but they don’t have enough enterprise-wide impact. When it comes to scaling digital transformation initiatives for a large organization (such as a bank or a retail operation), the lack of a common language, shared culture and standard services become the stumbling blocks. Adopting digital business platforms can change that.
Today, however, the word ‘digital business platforms’ is used very generously to represent anything and everything, from integration to infrastructure to analytics. Most platforms are built monolithic and are quickly outdated with time. They are often underpowered and expect users to do the heavy lifting. They are closed and very difficult to extend. What we need are smart platforms. These are digital business platforms which are cloud-native, evolve continually and infuse intelligence into applications. These smart platforms create the foundation for smart applications, which are essential to digital transformation.
Here are 5 reasons why smart platforms are a must for the success of any digital transformation initiative:
- Openness: Smart platforms are open and allow enterprise users as well as partners to leverage the power of the platform easily. Openness of the platform allows it to reach every nook of an enterprise and every corner of a market, helping build digital business ecosystems. For example, Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS platform changed the scale at which developers could deliver applications to their markets and created large ecosystems that were not seen before.
- Elasticity: The key goals of digital transformation are to reach new markets, serve new channels, acquire new users and launch new products. Successful transformation can create unexpected scale. For example, an Alexa skill from a lighting manufacturer can go viral, and the manufacturer would not want to curb or control the resulting growth because of scalability issues. The Alexa platform can scale to meet the needs of the growing number of users. Smart platforms provide this type of scale that is necessary for digital business success. Building digital business platforms on elastic infrastructure like GCP, AWS and Azure cloud platforms is essential for success.
- Intelligence: Bringing AI-based capabilities into products to augment human intelligence is core to creating disruptive business models. However, that involves a lot of data analysis, using algorithms and training the models. Smart platforms help achieve this. Smart platforms with the right construct can do the heavy lifting of AI and offer it as APIs for the platform consumers. HOLMES AI platform illustrates how we can easily add AI capabilities to applications through APIs.
- Extensibility & Evolutionary: Business environments change continuously. Smart platforms adjust and align automatically to these changes. This is the most unique capability of smart platforms, and the key to digital transformation. For example, a platform may need to provide services for touch devices, wearables or leverage biometrics to complete processes in the future. The platform should be able to extend itself and deliver new features. In a sense, smart platforms stay in a state of continuous evolution, prepared for the next change.
- Autonomous: When platforms operate at scale, they become complex. They have several moving parts and handle an enormous number of transactions. Managing and operating such platforms gets quite challenging. Smart platforms help here by managing themselves. They do away the complexity of operating the platform by bringing predictive insights from transactions, events and logs, and automate tasks autonomously with little or no human intervention.
Smart platforms bring core capabilities to make digital transformation successful at scale.
It doesn’t take much to realize that smart platforms are behind the success of organizations like Amazon and Google, Facebook and Alibaba. Their platforms are elastic, easily consumable, extensible and autonomous. They are easy to leverage and anyone can build value over them. The platform economy is here and, notably, it is loaded in favor of smart platforms.
Know more in our latest report - Smart applications – the future of applications