Three ways to a digital company Individual solution, standard software or service?
A prerequisite for digital transformation is a modern IT infrastructure. But what is there to consider behind the scenes of architecture? Which different variants exist for implementation? And what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Company about the topic
In order not to end up in a dead end with digitalization, one should first determine the right way,
The digital transformation promises to make processes in companies simpler and more efficient. There is more than one way to do this. However, a look into the future reveals how important it is to find the right one: smartphones and tablets will not only be networked with each other, but also with simple everyday objects.
In-house development, standard software, and hybrid platforms are the three paths to digital infrastructure. Which of these factors affects a company depends essentially on the available resources, the know-how and the requirements for the digital environment.
At the beginning of a digitization project, companies must therefore take the time to analyze precisely which strategy leads to the best possible result. In this way, they avoid the risk of ending up in a dead end at the end of the digitalization strategy.
Individual vs. Standard
Building a digital infrastructure from scratch is a mammoth task, especially for larger companies with multiple locations. It is therefore crucial that a precise objective and detailed planning takes place in advance of the introduction. The right methodology, such as an agile development approach, can also help to make coding smoother and work in a goal-oriented manner.
Successfully implemented, a tailor-made environment beckons, which ideally fits seamlessly into the processes established in the company. However, in – house development remains time-and cost-intensive far beyond programming. Maintenance and updating of a system “Brand self-construction” require long-term attention and the involvement of as many employees as possible. Otherwise, there is a dependence on the know-how of a few people who are the only ones who know how the software was written.
Interfaces with third-party providers pose a further risk, because if the in-house IT cannot keep pace with the new versions of third-party providers, security concerns and functional failures are to be feared and the project of digital transformation quickly becomes a flashpoint. In-house developments are therefore as promising as they are complex and the drop height is usually considerable.
The use of standard software is much more straightforward. This is where the software manufacturer takes over maintenance and updating to keep the system up to date. Of course, a standard software cannot be as close to the company’s own processes as an in-house development and often means a fundamental change of the usual business processes. But it is much lower risk and to have high, but controllable costs.
Here, decision-makers should therefore deal exactly with the functionality of the solution and compare costs and effort. It is not always worthwhile to redesign the already established processes and thereby accept high costs in order to avoid the maintenance of the system.
The third way is a mixture of in-house development and standard software and combines the best of both approaches. A so – called” platform as a Service ” -or PaaS for short-provides a basic framework, which companies can design according to their wishes.
Independent applications, whether self-developed or not, can only be operated along pre-defined paths. PaaS systems, on the other hand, provide employees with tools with development tools such as low-code or no-code to design these paths themselves. In this way, IT and specialist departments can independently implement the digital transformation for their company and align it more closely with specific customer needs.
Modern platforms also offer standard connectors, making it easy to connect common systems such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft or Salesforce as well as standalone third-party programs. Even so-called legacy systems, i.e. components of the old IT landscape, can remain integrated in the new environment in this way. Further interfaces for the integration of programs for document generation via ESB or technologies such as blockchain and digital signatures provide even more design freedom.
The result is a process structure that can be individually adapted to the purposes of the company. Which approach is best suited in individual cases depends on the respective requirements. Because the more special these fail, the more meaningful PaaS systems or an in-house development appear. In the end, however, user-friendliness, stability and security should be balanced.
Future-Ready Platform Concepts
Companies are already facing the challenge of having to guarantee an optimal workflow despite mobile workplaces. The advantages of PaaS platforms with their cloud concept are clearly shown here and are reflected in today’s zeitgeist. Whether the colleagues are in the office next door or 12 time zones further, does not matter for the cloud.
Rolf Gebhard Stephan (Picture: AXON Ivy AG)
According to an IDC study, which examined the perspectives of public cloud computing models in 2019, the PaaS concept in particular ensures sustainable growth as it improves the customer experience and implements the digital transformation beyond everyday office life. A future in which the refrigerator sends the car “independently” for shopping is no longer unimaginable, but a logical consequence of further development. Platforms provide the right framework for this and play a decisive role in the digital future of tomorrow.
Rolf Stephan is COO of Axon Ivy AG.