By Michael Langer-Monsalve, Director of Technology
Cloud computing is changing the way applications are designed and is enabling platform businesses like never before. Only ten years ago, the mobile phone market was a completely different world than it is today. All the major players of that day either don’t exist anymore or are close to the bottom of the list of recognized brands in that market. How could this very lucrative market have changed so fast? A compelling explanation is that it’s part of the cycle of innovation, an example is Schumpeter’s creative destruction that makes place to a new order of technological innovations and with-it different types of business models and companies.
There are many factors that led to this mobile phone brands landscape change, but one of the most remarkable is the evolution of the phone into an interface to serve data-driven platforms. A platform needs data to function—tons of data—and with each new user that provides meaningful data, the platform is more and more valuable. To give you an example, and old-fashioned GPS navigator will not know if your neighbor using the same GPS is in a traffic jam that could affect your trip home, but the story changes if you and your neighbor use a GPS that is part of an interconnected platform. Everybody that is part of that system feeds the platform with valuable information that the rest of the users will benefit from, arriving earlier at their destinations with less stress. Each new user on the platform adds value to the rest of the users. And that is one of the principles we are using to transform the way we design and develop platforms at C4T.
With great data comes great responsibility and ethical challenges. In compliance with GDPR, we are responsible for keeping personal information safe and private. This adds another layer of complexity to the data processing in our platforms, but there are solutions and we are using best practices to keep our customer data secure while at the same time providing them with the added benefits of a modern, cloud-based data platform.
The transformation requires a change of mindset and refocusing our development strategy. Shifting from a company that processes data on behalf of its customers into a business model that focuses on data analytics and insights gives an invaluable edge to the users of our platform. Our chief asset is data, and we are opening the door for highly valuable information-generating solutions. Among those solutions, we are working on developing modules that use machine learning to predict trends, help spot errors and anomalies earlier, and give advice to customs managers. Our customers now have a complete dataset at their disposal that they can use to make better decisions, reduce costs, and improve their operations. As professor Marshall W. Van Alstyne so aptly put it in an interview with Harvard Business Review, “When a platform enters a pipeline firm’s market, the platform almost always wins.”
Our transformation is far from complete and we rely on a very accomplished team. C4T is not an 800-pound gorilla company with deep pockets but we shape our image after modern and successful companies and in my heart and mind it feels like being part of a world class symphony orchestra—we’re always moving! Every day, we are orchestrating this transformation within our company.
This article is part of a series of articles where we’ll show you how we are transforming our business. Keep an eye on our Inspire blog to learn more about topics such as data residency, compliance, and how important timing is when setting up a (start-up) solution.