Conversation between Sivaram S, Principal, Zinnov; Pranjal Sethi, Lead Analyst, Zinnov and Srinivas Vuppala, Head ISV and Cloud, Sonata Software
Enterprises are increasingly witnessing the benefits of digital transformation, especially in the wake of COVID-19, which has affected nearly every industry to varying degrees. As enterprises accelerate their digital transformation journeys, they are pivoting to a platform-centric approach. And with the increasing adoption of new-age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Blockchain, etc., they are exploring newer use cases, with the ability to scale rapidly, driving newer revenue streams, further bringing their platform strategy and play to the center stage to drive business acceleration.
To understand the rapidly evolving platform strategy of enterprises, some of the inherent challenges of such a strategy, and what Service Providers and enterprises should be thinking of and be doing to help bridge the value chasm, we spoke to Srinivas Vuppala, Head ISV and Cloud at Sonata Software, to gather his perspectives.
Sivaram: The platform economy has emerged as one of the most powerful outcomes because of the digital revolution. There is a decided shift from a product to platform mentality by leveraging an API-based ecosystem to enable digital transformation in enterprises. What are the key reasons for this shift? What benefits are these enterprises reaping?
Srinivas: Companies are focusing on accelerating their digital transformation efforts and are increasingly becoming connected. The connected enterprise achieves the ability of exchange value between stakeholders in newer ways. Platforms are crucial means to achieve such an ability between new business models and digital processes. They offer flexibility to pivot to new business models, create end-to-end digital processes, experiences, and engagements, improving asset and resource utilization. This needs companies to use newer strategies to create the necessary connected software or flexible business model software or digital process software by applying APIs or microservices.
Pranjal: What is a sound platform strategy that enterprises need to adopt to reap value and competitive advantage? In essence, what are the factors for a successful pivot to platforms? What are the key challenges that they are likely to face?
Srinivas: Organizations must identify digital objectives and platforms that fulfil their digital agenda. This is an iterative, design thinking-based, collaborative approach. Enterprises must clearly outline the purpose of the platform, encompassing parameters such as business model, digital process, industry specialization, customer engagement, employee engagement, asset and resource utilization, etc. Some of the challenges that companies face in their pivot to platforms include –
- Enterprises struggle to translate their digital approach into a meaningful way of identifying platforms, then architecting it, and creating an implementable roadmap
- Enterprises find executing these platforms challenging as it needs applying multiple technology capabilities and solving specific architectural aspects to the defined characteristics
- Finding the right talent and skills to execute these opportunities is another issue that enterprises grapple with; designing and executing these systems need a different engineering and modelling mindset.
Pranjal: What is the role of the ecosystem (Service Providers, start-ups, tech platform companies) to enable platform journeys of enterprises?
Srinivas: Service Providers are increasingly taking a larger share of the platformation pie, handholding enterprises in their platform journeys. They are helping enterprises identify and prioritize use cases, build roadmaps, and execute those roadmaps by building new-age solutions and platforms. They are focusing on creating an execution strategy that defines buy vs build as well as leveraging the partner ecosystem to build new services and solutions. With the rapidly growing investments in various new-age technologies and IPs to build custom components, Service Providers are increasingly taking end-to-end ownership in the platform play, helping enterprise accelerate their platformation journeys.
Sivaram: What are some of Sonata’s platforms? What are their differentiating factors and frameworks? How have they helped enterprises accelerate their transformation journeys?
Srinivas: Sonata has a range of platforms finding their use across industries and for a host of use cases. Some of our industry platforms include –
- Retail platforms – for offline retailers to become online providers
- E-commerce platform – helps retailers and distributors to develop capability for online transactions
- Rezopia – a digital travel platform to reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and improve Return on Investment (ROI) for travel reservations, contracts, and operations
- Customer 360 platform – a platform to view customer value and customer analytics
Some of our Engineering platforms include –
- Lightning platform – low code and component reuse, forces to build platform-compliant technical code, automates DevOps pipeline, essentially speeding up services and microservice releases
- Easyappconnect – connects with enterprise data sources and helps in creating queries and APIs
- Platform Frameworks – prefab platform code libraries to accelerate platform development with UI/UX framework, data ingestion framework, API, and Microservices frameworks
- Data Intelligence – Data algorithm selection, data pipeline, and data migration frameworks
As enterprises embark on their platformization journeys, Service Providers are increasingly helping them drive custom outcomes and accelerate digital transformation journey outcomes. Platforms are here to stay and are defining how companies conduct business.
How do you kickstart your own successful platformation journey? To know how to leverage platform intelligence to accelerate business outcomes, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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