[Column] The Platform – tomorrows new economic sector
Digitalisation is constant. We see it in the continuous innovative disruption across the globe. This progressive phenomenon has succeeded in turning the service industry on its head, placing tremendous pressure on businesses to remain relevant and successful. The light, for many, comes in platform technology, which has not only changed businesses, but also customer consumption patterns.
It has birthed several economies and is changing business as we know it. These include the sharing economy, collaborative economy, digital economy, circular economy, peer-to-peer economy and also the gig economy.
“The very fact that digitalisation and the resulting disruption has given rise to so many definitions is proof that there are less boundaries to success in business today and no rules per se. Almost anything is possible if you embrace the possibilities of digitalisation,” say Nik Steffny, chief commercial officer, e4, a fintech company.
Steffny says that platform technology is dominating digitalisation, playing a vital role in the onboarding of existing and new businesses: “Platforms bring together supply and demand and encapsulate them in a way that has never done before. Importantly, it is done quickly and more cost effectively too. The scale is also bigger, making platforms the glue that joins the dots from the client to the provider and all within the cloud regardless of geographic location or service sector.”
The success of digitalisation lies in its’ ability to access the myriad of services and solutions offered. The cloud, and entry to it, is therefore critical to the overall success of businesses in the digital era: “Integration and connectivity of digital technology using platform technology is critical. The growing consumer base of Internet users has for years influenced the consumerisation of enterprise technology. Mobile penetration and Internet access alone have changed the customer landscape immeasurably. What platform technology does is take these next-level services to the enterprise customer,” says Steffny.
As users adopt a platform approach and the scale increases, costs will reduce. Innovation will also continue to soar as the more feedback businesses get, the more developers can address new and evolving demands: “The growth of the platform economy is exponential. While we are not essentially in a development phase, we are most certainly only at the beginning of this exciting phase of digitalisation and we are excited to see where it takes us,” says Steffny.
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