What Is a Platform?

A platform is more than a suite of tools from one company that comes in a single package. It’s a way of connecting external tools, teams, data and processes to grow your business. Often, it’s easier to add on new tools when using a platform than a product. And because the best marketing platforms are based on open source and open standards, they can be expanded to connect with a wider ecosystem of software and services.

It’s also possible to build a platform within an existing technical framework, which decreases development time and cost. For example, the Structured Query Language (SQL) database application has been considered a platform because it can be adapted to meet many business needs, such as monitoring server health, applications and logs.

Platforms disrupt the linear business logic that traditionally has focused on companies manufacturing and selling finished products. They foster digital marketplaces that bring together consumers and producers in order to exchange value. Examples of this include Airbnb, Uber and Yelp.

The best platforms allow you to monitor and respond quickly — not only to events, but also to market dynamics and consumer demand. This agility means you can shift your focus to new markets and revenue opportunities based not on the limitations of technology, but rather upon what parts of your business are capable of responding.

Unlike a traditional integrated software suite, which can create dependencies and inflexible relationships between features, a platform is designed to be self-service. The challenge is to find the right balance between autonomous diversification and mandated consolidation, so that your new capabilities don’t become a monopoly for delivery teams. platform

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