A winning platform strategy today unlocks you from the gotcha-dependence of monolithic best-of-breed proprietary apps of years past and puts you back in control to profit from disruptive improvements in mobile technology and cloud infrastructure.
The smart-thinking CTO in charge of infrastructure keeps a sign behind her desk: "No more infrastructure"
In the old days (like way back in 2008), most organizations considered IT to be a business support function. It sat alongside operations, accounting, and marketing at management meetings.
Top management looked on IT as important but not that important. IT could only create business value by implementing proprietary software packages and infrastructure better than the next guy.
Ford beat up on GM by implementing SAP faster. Pillsbury got a leg up on Cargill by upgrading its Oracle database better and faster than General Mills. Exxon stood out from Mobil by upgrading its Windows OS faster.
Today, that's all changing. For one thing, infrastructure has gone from being a good word to being a bad word. The smart-thinking CTO in charge of infrastructure keeps a sign behind her desk: "No more infrastructure".
Out with the expensive infrastructure. In with customer facing cloud apps. From applicant onboarding to job orders to mobile sales staff, it all happens without an ounce of installed system hardware.
Out with monolithic proprietary apps. In with distributed modules that can be "plugged and played" and separately updated.
Out with proprietary software. In with open-source that keeps you in control.
For those of us in the proprietary software business, this means a lot of changes ahead. It will take a few years, and we'll obviously continue to extend our existing solutions. Consider that Air France and a half-dozen airlines around the world still run parts of Supertrace, a software package I first completed more than 30 years ago.
Our clients will continue to require incremental improvements to what they've already got. But at the same time, we know the future is control over your own platform.
As Tempworks's CTO Paul Czywczynski puts it, our duty to our clients in enabling them to control their own platform is to "take our core technologies, componentize them and make them available via open APIs...we continue to develop [extensions] to those APIs but they're open for others to build their own apps as well."
An example of this is our open source recruiting/CRM called Enterprise Web. You can find the source code it's based on (Exartu) here and can check out a soon-to-be-released version of it running on Heroku here.
I'm on my way into San Francisco to present it to the open source community at a MeteorJS meetup. Meteor itself is an open source system based on NodeJS, one of the most disruptive changes to the world of software frameworks in recent years.
But enough tech talk, the bottom line here is that a new age of disruption has made it possible for you adopt a more flexible strategy to innovation.