Regardless of the size of the companies or the industry to which they belong, there is a reality that is already inescapable for the corporate world and that is that all these companies, to a greater or lesser extent, are going through the great challenge of collecting, managing and analyzing an ever-increasing volume of data that continues to grow minute by minute.
Specifically, there is no way to measure the exponential development of Big Data in which people, companies and public organizations coexist today, along with the technologies that serve as drivers between them.
What is clear is that this context is a trigger of opportunities for data-driven companies that today face the challenge of recognizing the most appropriate way to manage this volatile source of gold, to turn it into real, concrete and intelligent actions, into profitable decisions.
The question is how to carry out such a mission, at what cost and with the help of which technologies.
To trace a timeline, we could say that the first steps towards data processing were taken by the Canadians René Pardo and Remy Landau, who created the first spreadsheet in 1972.
Then came the Customer Relationship Management system, better known as CRM, which opened a parenthesis in data analytics, to later focus on the back office as well. If you recall, all these systems have their origin in a spreadsheet and that is why many companies are still attached to this traditional and rudimentary processor.
What defines the transition from one era to the other is, in particular, a conceptual and substantial change that abandons the idea of “system” to focus on “solutions”, which paved the way for the proliferation of “point solutions” on the one hand, and the era of “platform solutions” on the other.
Today, the solution ecosystem is saturated with software designed to solve specific scenarios, so much so that their purpose is already part of the problem.
Data-driven companies that have chosen to implement different point solutions are detecting an entropic phenomenon, similar to the moment when they encountered a bottleneck in relation to their data management. They have too many point solutions that do not connect with each other and generate excessive costs and conflicts.
For example, we can see that more and more hospitals, sanatoriums or clinics are implementing different software with which they can manage inventories, affiliates, medical records, and so on. However, these are solutions that work independently of each other, thus losing a great opportunity to centralize this management in one place and thus improve service.
It is true that point solutions have been of great help to companies starting a digital transformation, as true as spreadsheets have been fundamental to introduce the corporate world to the data processing system.
But the evolutionary course no longer contemplates the rational and intelligent use of a spreadsheet for complete data management and, little by little, the factors that make point solutions obsolete in the face of the needs of today’s companies come to light.
So, this question arises: why should companies invest in many specific solutions if they can have all the solutions in the same platform and get the most out of them?
The benefits of adopting a platform solution
There are many reasons why companies are abandoning the point solution and implementing a platform solution, but here I ponder a very simple explanation to start with, and that is that point solution organizations will soon no longer have a place in a market where B2B buyers are adopting B2C habits.
The end consumer may come to a platform driven by an advertising action, but if they arrive with a specific purchase intent they need to have autonomy once they are in. Therefore, that platform will have to offer that frictionless experience.
The same is happening in the corporate universe. The B2B universe highly values an ecosystem of integrated solutions in the same place and where the technologies available there can provide much more than the solving of a problem, but rather an infinite web of powerful actions, capable of managing, robotizing and scaling into business opportunities.
In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, what separates great companies from average companies is the ability to make decisions quickly, intelligently and based on data. This does not refer to management decisions, but to the possibility of democratizing this option by giving that ability to all parts of an organization, especially on the front line where strategy meets reality and customers are won or lost.
Therefore, a platform solution is, in concrete terms, a concept designed for companies but also for the people behind those companies, which encompasses different needs, solutions and problems that respond to the core of the software itself or to a specific vertical or industry.
Although the great benefit of a platform solution is its integral capacity, this itself impacts on multiple advantages, such as:
- Allows for more fluid and efficient communication between areas, optimizing the flow of internal processes and streamlining actions by centralizing them in one place.
- Raises security standards by focusing on a single platform and not on multiple vendors.
- Enables cost optimization because, for example, staff training time is reduced (they no longer have to learn to use different software) and investment in multiple vendors (point solutions) is eliminated.
- It focuses on a single service agreement for different areas, making the SLA able to resolve conflicts that impact different areas.
- Centralizes databases and establishes a single backup policy, eliminating wasted time and resources in backups of different software.
- Raises the level of compliance and reduces compliance management times by enabling the certification of one platform and not requiring the certification of different software.
- Reduces the learning curve, thus accelerating onboarding processes.
In addition, and according to McKinsey, streamlining end-to-end processes can reduce fixed costs by 20% to 30% and accelerate service delivery by 20%, while increasing customer satisfaction by 5% to 10% and revenue by 3% to 5%.
Towards the evolution of the “platform solution” concept
A major differential between end-to-end platforms and point solutions is that the former make use of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data learning, among others, while the latter do not.
This is what accounts for their generative and exponential capacity, which, in particular, is what guarantees that the companies that implement them will really have integrative solutions and not small wars to deal with on a daily basis.
As CEO of Conciliac EDM, the first platform to adopt this concept, developing and implementing the most innovative tools in relation to the automation of data management processes in a flexible and scalable way, I must say that with the platform solution we are opening the doors to new schemes and processes, not only of the product that is sold, but the way it is sold.
Isn’t it happening right now? Of course it is, with a platform solution like Conciliac EDM where companies from different industries that come to do data reconciliation, continue to implement Data Match, Data Recon, Data Transformation and Data Integration modules, and all without moving from the same place.
The next step, at least as far as Conciliac is concerned, will come with the deployment of a more integrative and complete concept, where the layers of an operational, product and development platform will coexist, ready to provide its users with a truly exponential, autonomous and much more powerful experience for their businesses.
The question is, are companies prepared for this new scheme?
Absolutely yes. Companies today, is not that they need to be data driven, they must be data driven, and that is the main reason why implementing a platform solution has become the only and best way to grow, reduce useless costs and monetize their business based on quality data.