The rate of technological development today is rapid, and it shows no signs of decreasing. To get ahead of changes in technology – or to at least keep pace with them – requires many businesses today to undergo a digital transformation. Without a full transformation, it would be impossible for most companies to achieve the required speed and agility to compete in today’s competitive business environment.
When it comes to digital transformation, many companies have come a long way in a remarkably short span of time. Ten years ago, when company leaders were asked to list their top objectives, only 2% of respondents mentioned “digital” once or more.
Today, over 25% list digital transformation as a top objective, and that’s expected to double in the following two years as businesses find their way toward sustained business growth.
However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” for digital transformation. Instead, a digital strategy should be different for every organization, depending on their unique needs. Though it can be challenging to describe the procedures required to implement one accurately, it is possible to characterize digital transformations more precisely by referring to their ultimate objective – implementation of an effective digital platform.
In this piece, we’ll walk through the reasons why it is critical to have digital platforms, how to create a digital platform strategy framework, and real-life examples of B2B companies that have benefited from digital platforms.
Let’s get started.
What are Digital Platforms, and Why are They Important?
Digital platforms are a network of systems, technologies and interfaces that enable business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), or even customer-to-customer (C2C) interactions. Instead of a world driven by processes, digital platforms enable a data-driven infrastructure. The end-to-end business process is managed digitally to provide partners, customers, and workers with an enhanced experience.
While they generate revenue for the organization that builds and maintains the platform through various business models, a well-developed digital platform can add value to every party within its ecosystem.
Depending on the type of business model used and the particular functions they aim to fulfill, digital platforms take on many shapes. Here are some of the most popular digital platforms:
- Service-oriented platforms: Airbnb, Uber, and GrubHub
- Social media platforms: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram
- Media sharing platforms: YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, etc.
- Knowledge platforms: Quora, StackOverflow, and Yahoo! Answers, Reddit
The world is becoming increasingly tech-driven, and the trend is being felt at every level of business. Matt Brittin, President of EMEA Business & Operations at Google, said that 90% of all professions within the next 10 to 15 years would require some level of digital capabilities. In his view, technology will lead to the creation of new employment, but it is also predicted that automation will replace 14% of current positions and that 32% of positions will undergo significant scope and focus changes.
Digital platforms have moved from ‘good-to-have’ to ‘must-have‘. Hence a well-developed digital platform is undoubtedly essential for a business to survive. By creating a digital platform, you can gain a competitive edge and serve your niche audience with an enormous value proposition that includes not only the services, but also the platform’s community.
Creating a Digital Platform Strategy Framework in 3 Steps
Before you consider implementing a digital platform, you need to have a strategy in place. Though there are several approaches to strategizing a digital platform framework, the following are broad and widely considered strategies that can help you get started.
Step 1: Build a Strong Value Proposition
It is tempting to believe that creating a platform will lead to success. Launching a digital platform just for the sake of doing so rarely succeeds. Instead, consider how your platform will create new relationships.
To achieve this, concentrate on developing a solid value proposition for your platform to resolve actual client issues. The goal should be to ensure that it appeals to a variety of consumers. Although it may seem difficult, this initial step can be the deciding factor regarding how users receive your platform offering.
Microsoft is a noteworthy example of a company that benefited tremendously from this strategy. Microsoft matched the features of its Office 365 platform against particular corporate departments, like sales and marketing, finance and accounting, HR and communications, and others, allowing the company to cater to a range of customer needs.
Step 2: Leverage the Right Technologies
The convergence of technologies such as automation, cloud, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and mobility have created a new “as-a-service” economy. In this field, services are dynamic, on-demand, and targeted, significantly affecting service costs, investment levels, and market speed.
By combining business technologies, software, and infrastructure, both large and small enterprises can make them available “on-demand” and turn them into scalable services. Even without paying the entire cost of a platform up front, enterprises can benefit from this situation since they have access to new markets and distribution channels.
Step 3: Mining of Open and Shared Data
Massive quantities of data is being produced today, and it’s expected to quadruple every two years. With the help of experts and surrounding sectors, open and shareable data can be mined intelligently to develop new forms of the present values. Large-scale customer activity monitoring is possible, and field-based software or equipment can provide insights through a collaborative, agile working style.
B2B Companies that are Leveraging Digital Platforms
B2B sales cycles are typically lengthy, with numerous individuals engaged in a single purchase decision. Modern B2B companies can look toward digital platforms to streamline the process, leveraging the power of digital platforms to help nurture and advance prospects along their customer journey.
The businesses in the following list distinguish themselves by utilizing digital platforms and strategies, comprehending fully what their target audiences want and need from content, coming up with inventive and distinct ways to reach more people, and cultivating communities around their brands.
Did you know that Shopify, a well-known e-commerce company, amassed a sizable following on YouTube and enjoys great success with its video marketing approach? Why? Because they are aware of what their intended audience wants.
They provide popular “How To” videos and tutorials for prospective business owners and operators of online platforms. They are aware of the people who would benefit most from their solutions, and they create films with checklists and templates for developing skills for them.
IBM effectively highlights its heritage and reputation in the tech sector through social media. Instagram posts that feature old products from the last 100 years help businesses establish credibility and trust with both present and potential customers.
Additionally, IBM posts films of its workers discussing their working lives, delving into difficult subjects like quantum computing, and discussing the cutting-edge technologies they are investigating. This type of storytelling reinforces the brand’s corporate principles of innovation, trust, and personal accountability.
Hubspot regularly publishes training, tools, and research, and as a result, they have established themselves as a significant resource for thought leadership and trend insights. The strategy places more emphasis on knowledge sharing to aid marketing and sales professionals in their work than it does on promoting their own goods.
The industry leader in online shoe sales, Zappos sets the bar high for online customer support. That they have a fantastic digital strategy is not surprising. In addition to offering a 365-day money-back guarantee, Zappos offers free shipping both ways in case customers decide to exchange or return items they bought online.
As many social media users can tell you, Zappos continues to spend a lot on digital marketing. Planning their strategy after engaging with their audience has been a crucial component of Zappos’ digital strategy, as it has allowed them to follow the customer’s needs and wants, rather than what they think the consumer ought to want or need.
Startups face difficult challenges when it comes to breaking into the crowded personal finance niche, but Mint’s strategy demonstrates that it is possible to stand out by making the most of digital platforms.
Despite being comparatively obscure compared to its more well-known forerunners, Mint committed to a digital strategy and published hundreds of high-quality content pieces, from educational blog posts to attention-grabbing infographics that went viral, to expand their brand. Through Mint’s use of digital marketing, the tool amassed a sizable online following before being purchased by Intuit for a staggering $170 million.
Airbnb aims to attract hosts and travelers to the site. Its digital marketing strategy primarily makes use of user-generated content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to highlight the towns and properties it manages, as well as owner-targeted how-to videos and posts. Their Instagram ads combine humor with eye-catching pictures of various travel destinations from around the globe, making it more than simply a service, but also a travel forum.
Stay Competitive In a Digital World
Business executives may better align with their organization’s digital platform strategy and goals by establishing platform realization and outlining the development and execution roadmap by outlining key releases, team, and launch plans. Businesses can implement this strategy by using a tried-and-true industry framework.
Blue Helion, a new age consulting and advisory firm equips its clients with the right digital platform solution for enterprise transformation and strategic acquisition and helps them in growing their digital presence. Leverage their expert opinions to grow your business in this cutting-edge, technologically advanced and increasingly competitive world.
Stefanini Group is another leader in the tech space that can provide invaluable digital platform strategy solutions. Stefanini Group is a global company with decades of experience providing tech solutions for their clients, including many years providing cutting-edge digital transformation services.
They specialize in agile business transformation, that takes a uniquely collaborative, “co-creative” approach to digital transformation. This allows for customized, innovative and crucially, actionable plans that offer tangible results for their clients. You can get in touch with a Stefanin Group expert here.
About the Author: Jubin Mishra over 20years of experience in strategy, consulting, marketing, communications, business development, human resources, and M&A for Business Services companies In USA, Middle East, APAC and India. Now Working as a partner in BlueHelion.