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Leveraging innovation: Utilizing the third platform to support success


IT investment is on the rise across all industries as companies attempt to implement strategies to increase innovation. Advances in technology are playing key roles in increased productivity and client service, with new functionality and customer insight capabilities representing a differentiator for successful organizations. The most-recent step in the continually evolving technology landscape is the third platform, with opportunities to increase data insight, access and efficiency if implemented correctly.

The third platform consists of five emerging technologies: mobile, cloud computing, social media, the Internet of Things and big data. Collectively, they harness the functionality of millions of applications that are built to work in numerous situations and integrate with each other. While each third platform technology provides significant benefits as stand-alone applications, integrating the technologies together into a comprehensive solution provides the most value to your organization.      

A closer look at third platform technologies

Mobile: Smartphones have enabled users to stay connected at all times, with more storage and processing power to manage increasingly complex applications.

Cloud computing: The cloud provides a host of software, platform and infrastructure solutions from anywhere there is a connection to the Internet. Customers pay for applications, operating platforms and infrastructure on an as-used basis with solutions that are inherently flexible and scalable.

Social media: Constantly evolving social networks allow companies to communicate directly with important stakeholders to gather information, track product usage and collect customer information and preferences.

The Internet of Things: Many items that companies never thought about connecting to the Internet (products, manufacturing processes, etc.) are now able to connect to the Internet and provide continuous feedback to help increase efficiency, and enhance quality and safety.

Big data: Data strategies are expanding, with information collected from structured sources such as databases and location data as well as unstructured data from email, social media and blogs to help organizations understand customers and make better business decisions.  

The third platform represents a significant technology shift that can help your organization become more competitive in a challenging business environment. However, many companies require a closer look at their technology spending to optimize investments. While many IT budgets skew toward spending to simply “keep the lights on,” spending should be equally balanced between maintenance and strategic initiatives to truly take advantage of third platform opportunities.

Subsequently, to embrace innovation, the role of the IT leader is changing dramatically. Instead of only keeping platforms and applications running, technology leadership should instead focus on managing complex relationships and leveraging emerging technology. IT leaders should be more involved in business strategy discussions, as technology will play an expanding role in the growth and innovation of the company.  

Read our white paper “Leveraging the third platform: New technology enhances business insights” to learn more about how the third platform could benefit your business, as well as considerations for getting started.

In the next issue of Technology Bulletin, we’ll expand on this topic to provide insight into how middle-market organizations are implementing third platform technologies and how the applications work together to maximize value.