Why don’t the world’s leading companies code everything themselves? – “Up to 80% of customised solution development may be simply wasted time”
Do companies still need tailor-made business solutions? Very often they do not – Janne Rekonen gives three reasons for doing away with the DIY coding mentality.
Some time ago, companies looking for a business solution had to build it from the ground up. This DIY approach had its drawbacks: developing tailor-made business solutions was expensive and time-consuming.
The self-contained solutions developed did not communicate with each other, and it was hard work to connect them with other systems. The company could also easily fall into the supplier trap, meaning that they ended up dependent on the vendor that had built the solution for them.
Nowadays, fewer and fewer companies are coding everything right from square one. This is simply no longer necessary: low-code business platforms such as ServiceNow and Salesforce offer solutions that use a ready-made technology base.
“Up to 80% of customised solution development may be simply wasted time. Ready-made business platforms are quick to install and easy to customise, and they offer a comprehensive range of functions. They can be adapted to a wide range of needs, from customer service to marketing and industry solutions,” explains Janne Rekonen, Vice President of Platforms at Sofigate.
“Customisation is of course needed for industry-specific solutions, but nowadays this normally accounts for only 20%–30% of a typical project. Ready-made platforms also add value to your business more quickly than tailor-made solutions, and this is nowadays a critical issue for companies,” Rekonen continues.
Why are business platforms gaining in popularity? Janne Rekonen gives three main reasons:
1. When you acquire a business platform, you are buying freedom, not technology.
“When the business environment changes rapidly, the technology used must be able to change and adapt just as quickly. If your business expands from Finland to cover the Nordic countries, for example, your systems must expand rapidly to keep up.
Or if your business needs a new innovative service solution, speed is a real asset. If you start building solutions from the ground up, your competitors may have already overtaken you while you are still scraping together the basic functionalities. With a business platform, you get much quicker business benefits from your technology investment than if you were to build everything yourself from scratch.
The adaptability of business platforms is based on the fact that astronomical amounts are invested in their development every year. With millions of users worldwide, this development work takes into account a wide range of needs. Instead of you paying for and taking care of the development work all by yourself, someone else is constantly investing big money in developing the platform and its features. Several times a year, these new features become available for use.
When you acquire a business platform, you’re not really acquiring the technology, but rather the freedom to develop your business with the technology.”
2. You can focus on increasing your competitive advantage rather than on building basic functionalities.
“With customised solutions, a lot of time and energy goes into laying the foundations. A business platform, on the other hand, has all the basic functionalities ready-made, so you can focus on the user experience and the thing that really helps your business stand out from the competition: your business model. There is much to be gained from improving both the overall customer experience and the employee experience – and some of these are truly quick gains!
With the help of a business platform, building customer experience becomes more than just shiny portals or mobile applications. You can harness the power of your entire organisation to serve the customer: all communication and processes, from marketing through to sales and customer service, can interconnect and support each other within a single platform.
By digitising different internal workflows, you can improve your employee experience. That means goodbye to fiddling with Excel sheets; dealing with floods of email; and inefficient manual work! You can remove, or at least minimise, those boring, repetitive tasks, allowing your employees to focus on more meaningful and productive work.”
3. You can use data transparently as a decision-making tool.
“With modern business platforms, we can operate multiple business value chains or services simultaneously on top of a single data model. In this way, we can quickly and seamlessly utilise – in both existing business solutions and those under development – the data generated at different stages of the business value chain.
The data capabilities of business platforms are unparalleled – and they are being developed all the time. From trend analysis to AI-assisted decision making, they place at your disposal the latest ever-evolving technology.
You can better link your company’s value chains together and use the right data in the right place at the right time. To support the decision-making process, top managers receive reliable, up-to-date reports – and you don’t need a data science degree to make sense of them.”
Challenge yourself: is your business so different that you need to build your solutions from the ground up?
What if your industry or business is so unusual that it does not fit into the framework of the ready-made business platforms? Janne Rekonen suggests that even these companies should question their normal thinking:
“In the end, few lines of business are so different that they cannot make use of business platforms. The platforms have been developed to take into account the business needs of a huge number of customers globally – so it is possible to adapt them to your own needs. At Sofigate we have used platforms such as ServiceNow and Salesforce for a wide range of business needs: from patent management to healthcare and from cultural activities to property management.”
Janne Rekonen is Vice President of Platforms at Sofigate.