Build platforms not products

image depicting many applications running on a software platform

Build platforms not products. When big organizations deploy software platforms they are creating opportunities to sell a lot of products

Build platforms, not products. You know why it is valuable to sell to big organizations. Why sell a couple of products to them when you can sell a platform? When big organizations deploy a platform they are paving the road to a lot of additional sales of products. You can manufacture some, or all of these products. You can even encourage partners to build products for your platform. Best of all, your enterprise customers will benefit more from your technology as a platform. It is easier and less costly to add applications to a platform. This is especially true when your customers can use no-code and low code tools to build on your platform.

Big organizations in the public and private sector are like states or even nations. There are many silos in one of these big organizations. If you can sell your customer on deploying your platform you have a big opportunity to sell more applications (products). The products you sell can be designed to satisfy the needs of the various silos.

“Whether or not the leap from product to platform works is an immensely important question—not just for Microsoft but also for a growing number of businesses built around products or services.” (quote excerpted from Products to Platforms: Making the Leap)

As Feng Zhu and Nathan Furr’s story for Harvard Business Review points out, partners are also looking for opportunities to penetrate big organizations. Your platform can provide them with the entry way. Monolithic organizations are not a problem. Use your platform to sell them more capabilities built by partners.

Making the right engineering decisions is very important to the success of your platform. Engineering should produce APIs (Application Programmer Interfaces). When you publish these APIs partner will have an easier task of jumping on your platform. Customers also need simple tools. Give them no-code or low code tools they can use to customize your platform.

When is a good time to decide whether you are going to build a product, or a platform? When you are considering whether you want to offer a minimal viable product (MVP) or something customers can customize. Selling platforms is harder than selling products, but the payoff is a lot bigger when the customer buys your platform.

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