For the last 25 years or so, the world of business technology has revolved around computer hardware vendors (dominated by PC’s), Intel processors (remember how you and your buddy would compare who had the biggest and fastest processor), and Microsoft Windows.
These three pillars dominated the computer industry and in large part were the catalyst for all other computer accessories and software (QuickBooks would not be around without Windows). While there are still significant investments in computers and Windows, things are changing.
There is a shift happening – as Phil Simon writes, in his book “The Age of the Platform“. The shift has moved to online applications and mobile technology.
Platforms are very important to YOUR business and daily life as it’s the platform that you’ll be working with, in and around more and more and less the traditional computer and Windows environments.
Let’s consider your phone.
You really don’t care what phone you have as long as you can access all the data you need and do all the cool things you want to do. It appears that Apple and Google have so far dominated this space.
Much of your phone features are NOT based on the particular phone hardware you have (at first it was due to Apple’s iPhone) but not it’s based on the platform you are using.
Facebook to connect to friends (or market to customers), Apple (to use their iPad, iPhone, ebooks and other content), Amazon.com (yeah you buy books from them but many developers, who are building many of the services you use are building these services on top of Amazon.com’s servers) and Google (from search to online advertising services to email and collaboration).
Do you see how your world has changed to the age of the platform.
While you might think this is a bit “geeky” and it is, understanding these platforms will help you understand how to be more competitive and understand where your next competitor is coming from – they’re going to be the next company that can leverage one of these platforms (or another platform) to compete better against you.
Being able to leverage platforms gives you several advantages, similar to how we leveraged the Windows / PC platform of the last 25 years:
- There is an ecosystem of users that all know how to leverage the platform(s)
- There is an ecosystem of tech experts who can help you leverage the platform(s)
- Added value services and features (and products) can be added to the platform(s) and be sold or just added for enhanced customer service or business functionality or to acquire new customers
- The platform does the heavy lifting of computing and processing while your value add is how you leverage the resulting information or data
- As the value of the platform increases your value (individually or as a business) increases the more you leverage it
Do you get it? We are in “The Age of the Platform“, understand it and you’ll succeed. Miss it and you’ll be beaten by someone else and/or another company that gets it.