If you’ve been in the tech industry long enough you’ve probably heard the phrase “Third Platform” used quite often. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the third platform is the new wave of technology comprising four pillars: Social, Mobile, Cloud & Data analytics. Combined, these four pillars have been responsible for majority of the growth and innovation we see in the business world today.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the four components:
Social technology like Twitter and Facebook are now common platforms for businesses to build better relationships with their consumer base. So far, the response has shown that these efforts are beneficial. Social media marketing has been proven to increase search ranking, and most importantly, generate more revenue1.
Given that 80% of web users surf the internet on their smartphones2, mobile marketing is very swiftly becoming a must. Take advantage of the growing medium by allowing mobile payment or sending users time-sensitive information like sales event invitations.
The cloud is replacing hard drives as the main medium for data creation and storage. With this new technology even if one of your devices is damaged, you can still access important data on any other device. Popular cloud platforms like Google Docs and Dropbox let you and your team view, modify and share data anywhere. StarHub also offers cloud services for higher capacity data usage.
Data Analytics is used primarily by businesses to uncover insights like market trends and customer preference analytics, to help them identify their target market. You can use analytics to track aspects of your business like website traffic to ascertain what attracts your audience and what consumers tend to ignore.
As a whole these four pillars have shaped our modern day digital world, from how we as individuals communicate, to how we as businesses drive our products.
Benefits of the Third Platform
This new platform creates an opportunity for innovation like never before. Picture your wearable technology cataloguing where and when you are most productive for your future reference, or your office photocopier sensing when you are low on paper and ordering new supplies automatically. Thanks to the third platform, companies are changing the way they function.
That includes redefining how an enterprise engages with its consumers. Take popular new enterprises like Uber and local success Carousell. Both businesses capitalise on the third platform’s social and mobile aspects, and profit by connecting customers to each other instead of offering direct services themselves.
Even if this business model does not work for your own enterprise, you can take advantage of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to communicate with your audience anytime, anywhere.
This connection builds trust in your brand, letting customers feel more involved and connected to you by receiving regular updates on your latest products and in return giving feedback that could help you improve your services. In addition, the increasingly millennial consumer base prefers and expects remote accessibility with easily available information.
Preparing for the Third Platform
The third platform also means higher bandwidth, less physical equipment storage and maintenance which, despite being beneficial for your company, means that your current infrastructure needs to be re-evaluated.
Make sure your workplace is fully equipped for the increase in traffic and data, as well as new security threats. Staff should also be trained and educated on the updates made within the company, which does require some monetary and time expense.
As difficult as these changes may seem, signs point toward them being integral to your company, not just to help it grow, but to survive. During his talk in the EMC World Conference of 2015, EMC's information infrastructure business CEO, David Goulden observed that 89% of the Fortune 500 firms in 1955 are now out of business4, suggesting that their inability to adapt to the influx of market changes contributed to their failure.
Apart from the increase in innovation and communication, the third platform has also brought about an increase in disruption. Traditional cab companies risk losing customers due to real-time services like Uber and Grab Taxi, and are compensating by releasing their own taxi booking apps. As many firms are swiftly realising, adapting to the ever-expanding third platform might be more a necessity than an option.
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