What You Need to Know About Building a Technology Platform
Many organizations build digital technology platforms that don’t deliver the value they expected. The emergence of the digital platform economy became dominant years ago, as new online architectures rolled out for an ever-widening range of activities. Before long, you could do everything from ordering a rideshare to doing your grocery shopping or investing on an app.
It’s created an environment where everyone feels pressure to have a technology platform. However, doing something because everyone else has can lead a project to fall short. Platforms should have a clear purpose and value. They need to solve real problems faced by your organization or create value that is currently going untapped.
If your organization is about to embark on the process of building a technology platform, this is what you need to know.
Optimization vs. Transformation
Before you can begin to build a technology platform for your business, you need to be clear on your ambitions for going digital. The core question is this: are you creating a platform that optimizes the way you already do business.
Optimization can take many forms. It might mean speeding up several processes by automating them, or it may collect data from a user to deliver targeted suggestions and actions to help them.
Transformation depends entirely on the context of the industry you’re targeting. Your platform will have to address the pain points faced by the industry and achieve the very specific goals you set out for yourself. Achieving that depends on the right combination of industry knowledge and creativity.
Building a Platform That Does Both
Sometimes, a digital platform has to do both. Nobul, a digital marketplace that connects home buyers and sellers with real estate agents, has become a great example of a technology platform both transforming the real estate industry and improving on what it does as it evolves.
Nobul’s transformative property is how it changes the relationship between real estate agents and consumers. Real estate agents make proposals to consumers who only have to put in basic information about themselves. These proposals include details about the agent’s fees and services; while consumers can also look at their transaction history and verified reviews.
But it’s not just this relationship that the platform has changed. It’s also invested in support for realtors matching listings to clients; as well as blockchain contract management to speed up many of the elements of a real estate agent’s job.
Founder and CEO Regan McGee said of the platform: “Finally we’re stepping into the light and seeing that business can be conducted much faster and better using these digital tools and techniques that are commonplace in other industries.”
Your Roadmap for Building a Technology Platform
With your ambitions clearly defined, your basic roadmap involves four key steps:
- Goals and Budget: outline your ambitions and your existing capabilities; a multi-year budget, and a series of goals that define the success of your progress,
- Create a Team: create cross-functional teams that include key personnel such as software engineers; data analysts, cloud experts, and other professionals whose skills you need.
- Develop the Platform: find and apply the new technologies and methods that will help you realize your goals.
- Scale and Expanding: building out the platform by refining your organization’s goals and adapting to the market.
A technology platform should help you transform or optimize your operations, but first, you need a clear vision and purpose.