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One platform to rule them all – or not?

Gustaf Soderlund
24 April 2023

Around 15 years ago, I was involved in a large ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system deal. It involved HR capabilities (including talent management, compensation etc), financial capabilities (like accounts payable and receivable), logistics capabilities (stocks and inventory) and procurement capabilities (vendor management etc). At the time, the obvious choice and the best solution was to have all these capabilities integrated into one platform and coolest at the time was the SAP system (possibly it still is). The major advantage was having it all connected and with huge amount of transactions handled by one platform by everyone, the cost per transaction went down considerably (economies of scale).

Could this approach at amalgamation on to one platform work in the DPA world as well? Does it make sense to run all the processes on one platform in order to get the economies of scale? For many years organizations have decided to stick with one platform to see cost per transaction go down, simplification of the architecture and an advantage of only building skills on one platform. And, if you trust everything the polished vendor slides are saying, you should use the same platform for CRM, Customer Service and Sales to really reap all the benefits. The story of one platform (to rule them all) is indeed quite convincing! And this trend (especially the use of a platform for many purposes) has been going on for some time now (just look at the waves and quadrants). The big Question is how come not all organizations are ‘buying it’?

In my view it all comes down to two other strategies, ‘best-of-breed’ and ‘fit-for-purpose’. Adopting a best-of-breed strategy means you want the best technical capabilities from the leading vendor in each specific area, be it DPA or CRM or Marketing automation. This is not new and explains why the ERP concept wasn’t as successful in the CX area. However, having a fit-for-purpose approach is newer.

Imagine you bought a state-of-the-art DPA platform (like Pega or Appian) to manage your super complex and highly regulatory payment processes with embedded business rules for payment investigations and disputes. The platform might be quite expensive but considering what you’re saving in quality, compliance and automation – ‘it’s so worth it!’. For this exact purpose, the leading DPA platform would be a perfect fit, especially if it’s a framework (like a regulatory scheme) that the vendor consistently updates twice a year. Now imagine a few years down the line, you’re implementing GDPR. Still highly regulatory and some complexity. The leading DPA solution might still be fit-for-purpose here. But, what happens if the bank wants to send out a survey about the new Mobile App and is offering each respondent two movie tickets, that are being sent to their home address? Probably, the leading DPA platform is a bit of an overkill for this purpose, while a simple low code tool or a basic case management tool could be fit-for-purpose here. 

Only the last month, I’ve come across three very large banks that are using several process platforms at the same time, as a part of their strategy. But, on the other hand, medium or smaller sized organizations can possibly not afford three parallel technologies based on different use cases. There, it would make more sense to see if there are platforms that are good enough for all (or at least most) of the prospective use cases and usage areas. The advantages of using one platform for both DPA, CRM, Customer Service and Sales can also be substantial there. Especially, since you have only one technology to maintain, one technology skill to build capabilities on etc, which would argue the case for ‘one platform to rule them all’. Are you unsure of where your new use case should fit best? Feel free to reach out to us!


Gustaf Soderlund

Global Vice President Business Process and member of Digital Leadership team, Capgemini FS 
Gustaf has many years of experience selling, delivering, and leading business process and customer engagement solutions in a variety of industries, including banking and insurance Gustaf currently leads Pega globally and is the Augmented Services leader for Financial Services.

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