How to Prepare Your Business to Utilise ‘The Third Platform’

Thursday, 11th October 2018

Guest blog by Bruce Cousins, Intechnica

This article examines how to prepare a business for Digital Transformation utilising The Third Platform.

What is ‘The Third Platform’?

The Third Platform is the name given to four types of disruptive technologies that have changed the way in which customers and businesses interact with technology and brought about Digital Transformation.

The term was first coined by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and refers to social media, mobile computing/apps, big data analytics and cloud computing.

Also called the ‘Nexus of Forces’ by leading tech advisory research company Gartner, The Third Platform is commonly referred to by the acronym SMAC by the business community.

What is SMAC?

S – Social

M – Mobile

A – Analytics

C – Cloud

How to Utilise The Third Platform

These disruptive technologies have given birth to new industries and jobs and present a rich vein of opportunity to businesses who harness them in the right way. Let’s explore how each element can be exploited:

Social – If you know your audience and stay on top of the latest trends and capabilities of the platforms you are on, social media can be used to engage customers in new ways this can help to generate leads and improve customer service.

If you include gain social opt-in from customers this can be utilised to not only attain an email address for marketing but also gain a deeper insight into them through the profile information they share.

To help create a buzz around a new product and expand the reach of your marketing campaigns ensure that your content is easy to share on social media platforms regardless of what device they are viewing it on.

Mobile – Now that four out of five people who use the internet own smartphones, many of them use their phones to make purchases, businesses must think mobile-first. This means providing customers with the ability to shop on mobile and ensuring that web content looks good and is responsive across all different types of mobile phone and other devices such as tablets and desktop.

Analytics – Analysis of big data can inform you what works best within your product range or service catalogue. Analysis of the success of current marketing campaigns should influence future campaign content and inform you where your marketing budget spend will be most effective.

If you store customer data in the cloud then you can have the ability to access it from anywhere at any time. Access to customer information allows you to respond to their needs and can improve the customer experience.

Use of a social media analytics package can help you build a profile up of the types of persons that are interacting with your brand.

Cloud – Cloud computing frees up storage and offers new business capabilities such as instant access to information and the ability to easily communicate or collaborate with team members in different geographical regions.

Preparing Your Business for The Third Platform

Using innovative ways to proactively adapt or use technologies from within The Third Platform to fulfil customer needs can see businesses driving the way within their industry.

To get the most from The Third Platform you need an understanding of how SMAC technologies and Innovation Accelerators work.

Innovation Accelerators

‘Innovation Accelerators’ are new forms of technology that can be utilised to facilitate Digital Transformation and push businesses forward, they include:

  • Robotics
  • Natural Interfaces
  • 3D Printing
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Security

It is crucial that CEOs, CIOs and CTOs understand how they can be leveraged within the business and the wider industry. CEOs, CIOs and CTOs are central characters in Digital Transformation projects and their buy-in is necessary for successful adoption from the wider business.

People should be at the centre of Digital Transformation. Therefore, buy-in from staff and adoption by users is vital – more important than the technology itself. Staff buy-in comes much more easily when the Digital Transformation project is supported by business leaders. User adoption is more successful when the customer journey is a cohesive experience.

The Key to Gaining Competitive Advantage From The Third Platform

As the speed of innovation accelerates exponentially so too must organisations’ ability to adapt. Being able to pivot and exploit the opportunities new technologies present at the drop of a hat can give an organisation the edge over competitors and help to increase market share, or capture new markets. Preparing your business so that it is capable of rapid transformation is key to success here.

Is your business ready for Digital Transformation?

To learn more about Digital Transformation download the free guide: Digital Transformation: A Guide for Business Leaders