As technology firms continue to develop new and exciting applications to streamline and drive business forward, the inevitable result is a proliferation in the number of platforms used by businesses. Companies have spent billions of dollars and countless hours in an effort to merge multiple software platforms and get them to work together in one cohesive, centralized home. With the rapid advancement of new platforms, it’s clear that multi-platform operations are here to stay and successful integration and adoption is key. The challenge for managers and users will continue to be the ability to maximize productivity without wasting too much time on conversion, getting everyone to recognize the value each platform provides, and get them trained and up to speed. The benefits of multiple platforms are clear. Companies can access the latest software applications, improve their efficiency and effectiveness with specific platforms for particular business functions. A diverse range of software platforms offer business channel customization and resilience against company-wide downtime. Redundancy is another benefit to multiple platforms. When a centralized platform goes down for maintenance, you stand to lose all functionality. With multiple platforms, you can use a workaround for the affected application until a resolution can be found. You don’t put everything at risk, and you avoid the downside that a total loss of functionality can bring.
Another key aspect to the platform proliferation issue is innovation. If you’ve ever worked with legacy systems and data merging, you know how time consuming and frustrating it can be. Forcing new data into an old database management platform is expensive and inefficient. It’s tempting to try to collect and analyze all your business inputs and data in one place, but it’s often cost-prohibitive. Side-by-side applications offer a greater freedom and control over your data. When you diversify your platforms, you reduce systemic risks and foster innovative thinking in each business unit. Interoperability is important, but you can overcome the challenges of formatting and data conversion with better software at the backend.
The proliferation of platforms can’t be overlooked. As designers develop new and innovative solutions to business problems, companies will have to make choices between the adopting shiny new platforms and maintaining tired old ones. The benefits of new platforms are often uneven – what works for finance might not be a good choice for HR. Applications that can run side-by-side typically offer more resilience and better customization than the pie-in the-sky, one-size-fits-all approach. As new technologies such as artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and semantic searches continue to develop, the potential for custom-fit platforms will only increase. Throw in the cloud and advanced computing power, and you have a cocktail for transformative applications for businesses in the future.
Interoperability and data collection are a concern when running multiple platforms, but software developers will continue to build platforms that focus on specific business goals. As data conversion and syntax translation software improves, the use of multiple platforms will continue to proliferate. If you are hesitant to make transitions from legacy platforms, you might miss out on the vast benefits of focused software solutions for your business. One broad platform to cover all your bases is less and less viable as an IT strategy for your company. Unlock the potential of new technology and embrace the world of multiple platforms!