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Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Secure Your Apps

Platform as a better way to do business

Within 10 days of Singapore’s ComfortDelGro Taxi introducing a new flat fare option in April through its namesake mobile app, more than 100,000 bookings were made. One cab driver received at least three flat fare jobs a day, boosting his booking jobs overall.

Traditional taxi operators like ComfortDelGro Taxi have seen the merits of new business models introduced by Uber and Grab and are exploring options such as dynamic pricing, which varies with commuter demand.

Rival SMRT Taxis has also jumped on the bandwagon. It has enabled its taxi drivers to use a ride hailing app from Grab for taxi bookings and to offer customers dynamic fixed fares for their bookings. “This partnership with Grab allows us to keep the pricing for our services competitive, catering to different customer needs and preferences,” said Tony Heng, managing director for SMRT Taxis and Private Hire Services. “In addition to our SMRT Taxi booking app and hotline, Grab’s platform will expand our taxi hirers’ access to meeting customer demands.”

Grab itself has continued to evolve. It recently acquired Indonesia’s Kudo and integrated its proprietary mobile payments platform with the latter’s online to offline ecommerce platform. The acquisition “advances our mission of providing millions of people across Indonesia with increased access to convenient cashless payments and new income opportunities, while also unlocking compelling new ways to boost online spending,” said Ming Maa, president of Grab, which offers services in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Working together

Clearly, even as the sharing economy gains traction across the region and globally, the success of companies like Grab, as well as other digital-era leaders like Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba, Facebook, Amazon and Google, hinges on the transformational power of platforms. Business models and the ecosystems being built around platforms are nothing less than the foundation for new value creation in the digital economy, observed Accenture.

Using these platforms, entire ecosystems do much of the work to generate growth and drive strategies. And as the examples of ComfortDelGro Taxi and SMRT Taxi show, platforms and apps are opening up new income opportunities to every company in every industry, including the transportation sector. In other words, you can begin to turn your businesses into a platform that facilitates revenue growth.

In Accenture’s study, 82% of executives surveyed believe platforms will be the ‘glue’ that brings organizations together in the digital economy. Specifically, the digital glue that will hold together the business building blocks – cloud services as the foundation; open source and reusable software; mobile development platforms; real-time business models driven by the Internet of Things; and portable software – is an application programming interface (API) strategy and architecture.

Rejuvenating business

API is the technology that transforms your business into a platform. By turning your business into a platform, APIs will open the door for partners and customers to streamline operations, leading to better customer experiences. Platform-driven businesses use APIs to hand over controls that were previously only accessible to employees to customers, who can now select and self-provision based on their desired service options, cost and performance.

With APIs facilitating collaboration and the creation of new products and services, the cloud will be the new distribution warehouse that form ecosystems and establish partnerships. The reason is that cloud architectures are the easiest and most cost-effective way to scale. This is a critical capability in digital transformation, along with the flexibility to adapt and grow with changes in the market.

By taking advantage of APIs and choosing open, standards-based technologies, you will be able to customize products based on user preferences; create service bundles that drive new revenues; deploy new purchasing models that leverage available data in the information marketplace; and monetize products and services rapidly using new business models.

The best way to begin adopting the platform business model is with a low-risk pilot program. F5 Networks, an industry leader in application delivery networking, suggests identifying processes to enable and streamline with APIs – a time-consuming manual process; a process that customers frequently complain about; any labor-intensive process or one that allows shifting of control to your customers; or a process in which competitors do better and faster than you.

Remember that the main aim of using APIs and transforming your business into a platform is to establish a better way to do business, removing barriers to revenue growth, value creation and excellence in customer experience.

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by F5 Networks Asia Pacific.