The digital platform is key to creating an IntelligentCX, the approach being proposed is one of many but found to be a great approach to enabling a platform which is scalable allowing multiple use case front ends to be built on the same data sources, driving innovation within a business.
To start lets take a view of the complete system which gives a good over view of high level individual elements to be considered
You can see from the above that the whole platform consists of 4 elements, 1, The data sources (discussed in previous article), 2, The Core Platform, the data storage in combination with a set of API’s (or web services), 3, The front-end, this can be an APP, website, internal system, etc usually the customer facing part, and finally 4, The insight platform, analytics captured across the various aspects of the whole system which we ll be dealing with in later articles. Typically, the customer experience is created around the front end ‘App’ which we ll be dealing with in Step 5, in this article we ll be focusing on the use of web services and data storage in combination as a solution.
For further details on what a digital platform is have a look here.
The Core Digital Platform
The technical elements of the core digital platform are less important to the commercial owner, but the principles it demonstrates are very important. By communicating the approach of storage and web services combination enables technical teams to identify a suitable architecture, this combination lends itself well to providing scalability and flexibility for the future.
This approach prevents the data being tied directly with the front end, which would prevent the data sources easily being utilized by additional front ends on the future, i.e. the core digital platform becomes intrinsically tied together with the front end app, it is built as one system with no scalable use cases considered or easily possible. So what does this mean?
Using the tied together approach we get this
The same data sources being used for separate applications which are created separately around there own core platforms. The result being, 4 times the data to be managed increasing the likelihood of data discrepancies, 4 times the costs of core platforms, hosting, etc, and most importantly, limitations in enabling further innovation to be developed on the front of the data.
Using the web service combination approach, we get the following
A single instance of the data source, a single core platform serving multiple front end applications. Admittedly the additional application may require further web services to be created but this is far cheaper, easier and safer, and most importantly enables innovation to be acted on around the data source.
If we increase the complexity of this model to include 2 further datasources, one of which displays the customer providing the data through application (green dotted line, an example would be customers inputting content of some form, think Facebook – photo upload metadata, geo locations or even “whats on your mind” posts.
Benefits of the Web Services Combination Approach
The combination approach allows all apps to utilize the same data, including user inputted data, this in turn enable innovation to be accelerated, with more and more apps built on the same data sources.
As an example, your business creates an app (App 1) to display and sell your product, you decide to enable customers to post product feedback through the App, this becomes very successful with large volumes of feedback posted and you need a way to organise and display the feedback to internal teams in an effective useful way, so you build a new internal app (App 2) to do this, you then realize this feedback would be useful to your customers, hearing from their peers who have already purchased so you provision this through a new API web service to another App (App 3) and expand feedback to be shown on your transactional website (App 4) oh and now you realize you can provision it to 3rd party review websites (App 5) to support your product reputation… Innovation at its best.
Hopefully this demonstrated how a single app can be grown into a self-perpetuating innovation driver and this core platform using the web service combination approach strongly supports this ambition.