Here’s why you should build a digital service platform

Derfor skal du bygge en digital tjenesteplattform
Forte Digital is a proud partner of some of Norway's largest companies. The common denominator for companies such as NorgesGruppen and OBOS is that they have built their own digital service platforms. In this article, we share three good reasons why your business should consider creating its own digital service platform too.

What is a digital service platform?

Let's start with the most important question – what is a digital service platform? Overall, you could describe a digital service platform as a modern and flexible digital foundation with some crucial properties.

Firstly, it is built as a cloud service, using Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud. These cloud services offer finished functionality that you do not have to develop yourself. Secondly, a digital service platform is based on an open and flexible architecture, which makes it possible to make rapid changes along the way. And thirdly, perhaps the most important factor: It supports data-driven digital development.

So a digital service platform offers a scalable and flexible IT architecture. And why does your business need it? Here are three good reasons: 

1. Fast development and increased competitiveness

As I see it, many businesses are now at a digital crossroads. We will see a greater difference in the future among companies that invest correctly in digitalization, and those that do not. And by correctly I mean that you can adapt to changes quickly, and secure a fast and efficient pace of development.

Read more about our customer cases.

The pandemic has intensified the pace of digitalization and this has affected the competitive landscape, both positively and negatively. It is now up to you as a decision-maker to take the right steps to ensure competitiveness and good conditions for further growth. Depending on your competitors, you may be a little late to the party. If you haven’t invested in a modern and flexible digital foundation for your business yet, you should take action quickly. 

A digital service platform facilitates faster digital development through more reuse and easier maintenance. You can focus on developing new services rather than maintaining old ones, and you get a flexible and scalable solution that is equipped for future growth. Your business has to embrace the unknown – what you do not know that you will or must do in the future. With a digital service platform, your business takes a big step in the right direction to ensure long-term growth and profitability. 

As Hilde Andersen-Gott, technology director at Farmasiet, says: "With our digital service platform, we are equipped to do the things we do not yet know we want to do in the future."

If you do this correctly, you will get a flexible and open architecture. It also makes it easier to replace code without major consequences for your digital ecosystem as a whole. Maintenance costs will go down, and you can spend your budgets and time developing new services rather than keeping old ones alive. The easier it is to replace old code, the easier it is to reuse code that has already been written. In other words, it facilitates a faster pace of development. A digital service platform ensures this pace. It is up to you as a decision maker to take the right steps to ensure competitiveness and good conditions for further growth.

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Offering relevant content is easier said than done. It requires that you know enough about your customers to be able to communicate content that resonates with each of them. The better you know your customers, the more relevant you can be, and the easier it will be to convert your customers into your sales channels. With a digital service platform, your store will become data-driven. By becoming data-driven, you get the necessary insights about your customers. This in turn ensures that you can embark on a new digital marketing strategy, where customers get the content they need at the right time and in the right place.

2. Less complexity and more reuse

When competition intensifies, you can’t afford to have a lower rate of development than your competitors. So how do you keep up? The answer is surprisingly simple: less complexity and more reuse.

The competition online is getting tougher and tougher every day. Every decision maker knows that it is all about developing new services faster and better than the competition. The services you develop in a digital service platform can be so-called micro-services. These are services that cover only a small task each. Multiple micro-services can be combined into larger services that perform several tasks simultaneously.

These micro-services are made available via APIs (programming interfaces) for the digital solutions you develop for your users, including your customers, partners, and employees.

A digital solution can be an online store, a website, a mobile application, or an internal application for your employees. Such digital solutions are built on top of your digital service platform, and use the services (micro-services) available in the platform. The services can be used many times in the same or across several different digital solutions. The main point here is that you can reuse the services and do not have to write the same code in several places.

3. Data-driven products and services ensures relevant content

It may be a cliché, but "everyone" talks about data being the new oil. Data is simply the fuel of digital innovation. But few have good answers on how to actually obtain this data. In addition to representing a flexible architecture that supports increased reuse of code / services, a digital service platform facilitates your business to use data in a smarter way.

Let’s look at an example from the retail industry. You run an online store and want to sell more (who doesn't?). You need to get more customers into the store, and you need to sell more to the customers who are there. For sure the best situation would be that customers find your online store themselves, or through a Google search. But you probably need to do more than that to increase your sales – for example advertise your products through digital marketing.

Now think about how much advertising you are exposed to in a day on Facebook, Instagram or as an email. How much of this is relevant to you and something you choose to click on? It probably applies to a very small percentage of all the ads you see every day. Research and experience show that relevant content converts better than general content. If you see an advertisement or offer for something you need, you’re much more likely to click on the advertisement than for something you do not find relevant.

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Three good reasons to build a digital service platform

To summarize, there are three great reasons to build a digital service platform:

  1. 1. It ensures a faster pace of development and thus increased competitiveness
  2. 2. It opens up for increased reusability and leads to less complexity
  3. 3. It turns your company into a data-driven business