Why:

  • The clock pulse of the digital world requires different flavors of speed and agility in order to make solutions available. These include “train”-style dynamics for robust, predictable enterprise solutions and “scooter-style” dynamics for innovative, viable products
  • Although the solutions may differ widely, they need to be connected and based on a corporate common ground to address security, privacy and integration.
  • The future needs of the digital enterprise and its external ecosystem are impossible to predict. A requirements-driven approach is, by its very nature, too slow, and creates a gap between business and IT.

What:

  • A digital platform typically features APIs, open datasets, service catalogs, integration, frameworks, playbooks, tools, and development support.
  • It supports self-service tools to quickly create solutions, but also features a high level of automation to ensure productivity and enterprise-level security and integration.
  • It provides the “art of the digitally possible” to anybody that needs to develop solutions within the IT department, the business side, or externally.

How to?

  • Create an overall architectural blueprint for the digital platform, but build it iteratively: a Minimum Viable Product will create early excitement and commitment while mitigating development risks.
  • Make the platform applied: offer “internships” to internal and external stakeholders to jointly explore the platform services and create the first solutions. Consider setting up a platform center to accommodate this.
  • Develop processes and incentives—and if necessary, directives—for using and contributing to the platform catalog.
  • Handle the platform as a product that needs to be “commercially” marketed and managed.

So what?

  • The platform mindset requires a thorough understanding of what drives both the supply and the demand sides of the platform; the number of enthusiastic, committed users ultimately determines it’s success.
  • It also challenges the concept of central, requirements-driven development in favor of decentralized enablement.
  • To a large degree, the platform determines the speed and agility level of the enterprise. It also is instrumental in raising its corporate IQ and digital trustworthiness.