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Where Should You Focus Your Platform Development Efforts?

    Everyone is familiar with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But most companies aren’t aware of the extent to which online platforms are becoming the preferred standard for interacting with customers, connecting with employees, and building bridges to others in their industry. 

    Many believe the untapped potential of e-Commerce platforms alone is so substantial they describe the business model of the future as a digital platform economy.

    Every business has unique needs, and most established brands don’t fully comprehend the pathway to extending their core model to online platforms. This lack of understanding holds many companies back from platform development. Many warn that procrastinating on platform development is a huge mistake

    Platform development requires different talents to come together to create a finished product. It involves software developers specializing in the user experience while navigating the platform. The process also involves developers responsible for the platform’s code and maintenance.

    In this article, we examine several kinds of successful platforms businesses are creating, along with the skills platform developers need to create them.

    What Types of Software Platform Development Should Businesses Consider?

    Companies built on a platform model include many of the world’s most recognized brands—names like Apple, eBay, Amazon, and Google. But platform development isn’t only serving companies in the tech industry. 

    Businesses of every size and structure are developing platforms for growth to remain competitive in the new digital socio-economic landscape. These businesses aim to future-proof traditional business models to meet customer expectations. 

    Surprisingly, few companies understand what a digital platform is and why they should investigate incorporating them into their existing business model. 

    Below, we’ll define a platform and then provide examples of different platforms businesses from every industry are developing.

    What Is a Platform?

    A platform is a specific application designed with a single primary purpose: to bring people together and facilitate easier interactions. It can be an application coded from the ground up or a browser-based platform using web platform development.

    Platforms can serve many purposes depending on what suits a particular industry or business. Think of a digital platform as where people gather to interact for specific tasks, actions, and goals. 

    Your digital platform lets your customers interact with your brand, get to know your team and your products, and ask questions.

    You can design a platform to assist a company’s ability to carry out a specific range of actions. The following are some common platforms:

    • Marketplaces
    • Real estate agencies
    • Healthcare
    • Insurance
    • Food delivery

    3 Main Categories of Platforms

    1. Business to Consumer (B2C) Interaction

    You can consider a B2C platform as a customer-facing platform. Businesses design B2C platforms to welcome customers with an easy and robust means of interaction. 

    Platforms can be anything from an e-Commerce site with support for tracking shipments and sourcing similar items and upsells (like Amazon) to an education platform where the customers are students interacting with instructors and professors. 

    For example, Apple’s App Store platform has become their primary focus. Although Apple shipped nearly 52 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2022 alone, Apple no longer reports on their hardware sales: They have positioned themselves as a platform-based technology company.

    2. Business to Business (B2B) Interaction

    Platforms facilitating B2B connections share a common goal of connecting groups in the same industry. These connections could be for logistics, shipping, manufacturing, an alliance of best practices, or e-Commerce—selling direct wholesale to other businesses.

    3. Internal Business Interaction

    A platform can bring departments of a business together. Platforms can streamline communication between departments, help develop a collaborative culture from remote work teams, or be deeply embedded in a company’s operations for more efficient operations.

    What Types of Platforms and Features Are Industries Using?

    Every platform can cater to the needs of any company, whether it’s technology-based or a brick-and-mortar store needing an online presence.

    • Employee-Facing

    Companies can use employee-facing platforms for internal HR operations, project management, and company-wide communications, providing tools to increase productivity and help their workforce complete tasks.

    • Collaborative

    Platforms can be a blend of internal and B2B. Some businesses will develop a platform to coordinate efforts within a given industry. An example is Google Workspace

    Companies can join initiatives, collaborate on projects, share calendars and custom management tools, video conference, and improve efficiency. 

    • B2C Customer Service

    Customer Service can integrate customer support call centers, live chat, payment processing data, and tracking shipments. These complex platforms incorporate numerous separate technologies into a cohesive user experience.

    • B2B and B2C e-Commerce

    While eBay, Amazon, and others have been around for a long time, more companies understand the benefits of having their own e-Commerce capabilities. 

    Companies with the budget and established online presence realize they need their own branded e-Commerce platform. Having such a platform requires capturing the culture and personality of a company.

    • Analytics

    A customized analytics platform provides actionable insights for a company to shape its performance, develop its own analytics platform to improve efficiency, make better vendor and logistics decisions, and set goals based on metrics.

    • Internal Technology

    Platforms can be custom-designed to manage internal operations and connect with employees. Developing a customized platform can help software development teams coordinate and communicate efficiently with one another throughout software development cycles. This is especially true for software development teams using cutting-edge Agile operational methods.

    According to Gartner, 80% of software engineering organizations will develop internal platforms they can share across multiple teams by 2026. 

    What Is Platform Development

    Platform development is creating, testing, deploying, and maintaining software for a digital platform. The process includes working with clients on design, features, and milestones, maintaining security updates, and adding future feature sets.

    What Are the Different Types of Platform Developers?

    Platform developers require the wide range of skills you search for in a top-tiered development team. There are two primary kinds of software developers to look for as your platform development partner:

    • Front-End Developers

    Front-end developers are responsible for all interactions with your platform users. The terms user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) describe the creative and logistics elements with which front-end developers work.

    These developers create graphic elements along with the flow and operation of every platform element. Whether it’s a registration and log-in, a search function, or the placement of an “OK” button, creating the fastest, most logical user experience is the responsibility of your front-end development team.

    • Back-End Developers 

    Back-end developers create the software code defining your platform’s logic, features, and every element of functionality. Back-end developers create the underlying application to which front-end developers will then apply their UI/UX for smooth functioning.

    Back-end developers also handle ongoing changes, updates, and maintenance of your platform’s code. 

    What Kind of Platform Developer Should You Hire?

    Your front-end development team will know how to bring every visual and customer-facing element together, along with the aesthetics of your company colors, logo, and other visuals. 

    You also need a back-end team who understands your goals and will partner with you for the long term, maintaining updates or feature additions and assisting in ongoing security needs.

    Developing a platform on your own requires much time, skill, and resources. Outsourcing the process can be much more efficient. 

    By partnering with Excel SoftSources, you’ll get the best front-end and back-end developers for long-term platform development at significant cost savings. 

    Our nearshore development team solutions bring you the following benefits:

    • The best quality at affordable rates
    • US time zone operation hours
    • English speaking developers
    • Seamless cultural transition
    • Agile development

    Reach Out to Excel SoftSources for Your Platform Development Needs

    We’d love to discuss your company’s custom platform project. Get in touch with Excel SoftSources today!