In the world of chemistry, a solution is a homogeneous mixture composed of only one phase, but in business world, solution is a blend of different functionalities intended to address one business process.
Solutions typically come with a Framework approach that meets most of the business challenges and flexible enough to make further enhancements. Implementing solutions have always added value to organizations by helping them quickly find answers to their business needs, instead of developing the entire process from the beginning.
Generally, solution frameworks should help enterprises to quickly address their business needs and in turn help IT companies achieve non-linear revenue growth. But, what lies in the future of such solution frameworks? Is it worth for IT Companies continuing to spend money on developing more and more such solution frameworks? Is it really helping enterprises to make proper returns on their investments?
When I start thinking about solutions, I think of Technology Accelerators, Technology Solutions or Industry Solutions depending upon what they have to offer and how they address business problems.
- Technology Accelerators – These are normally the small code snippets or utilities developed around a particular product and are very highly reusable. E.g. creating standard report templates, migration kits, etc.
- Technology Solutions – They are more of horizontal solutions, which are applicable to all the industry units. These kinds of solutions can be based on a particular product or technology. These solutions normally can be extended to all other competitor products or technologies in the market. E.g. Data Quality solution, Solution for Capturing and Managing Business Rules, ETL Monitoring and Control solution, etc.
- Industry Solutions – These are the most complex and challenging of the lot, since even the thought of building such kinds of solutions require in-depth knowledge of the business function. These kinds of solutions could be a combination of variety of products and technologies and have clear focus of the business function. E.g. supply chain analytics for manufacturing industry or the telecom churn management solution.
However, in the fast moving world and in the era of global completion, the Churn Management department no longer wants to see plain analytics and jazzy dashboards. They want to further analyze the churn with Big Data and that too on a real-time basis. They need instant notifications. Above all these sits mobility and social business. No one wants to wait until office hours to make any decision. The decisions are now being made quickly since the entire solution is mobile. The questions come of collecting and storing the huge data and guess what: No one wants to spend revenue on servers, configure and keep maintaining them. The entire data can be deployed on the cloud.
How about adding a platform flavor to it? One stop for all, one vendor to deal with!
Most of leading vendors like IBM, SAP, and Microsoft do have products which are completely integrated with each other.
Here are few of the benefits of using platform-based solutions:-
- Ease and convenience: Leading vendors do have software applications, software development solutions and business application product suites that combine together to make business functions more easy and convenient. These systems have been tried and tested to provide results easily, and manage processes better.
- Efficiency in business systems: Business applications suites and platforms come with features for managing third-party integration, data lineage, configuration and other things to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness. Business processes can run more smoothly with fewer errors.
- Cost Reduction: Platform-based solutions help in cutting costs since there is only one vendor to deal with. Also, there are higher chances of completing the projects faster with a single platform.
The author is IBM SW Solutions Lead, Tata Consultancy Services Limited