- Enterprise Service Platforms Are Here to Stay
- From Web Portals to Multi-Constituent, Multi-Channel Portals
- The Next Step in Portal Evolution: Service Platforms
- Enterprise Service Platforms: Making Complexity Manageable
The Next Step in Portal Evolution: Service Platforms
The volatile nature of business demands a flexible service architecture. The need for an ever-increasing number of services has become one of the drivers of escalating costs for many digitization efforts. The ability to be responsive to the market and yet be internally efficient and stable in terms of resource requirements is the essence of the problem. Service platforms solve this problem.
Consider the case of a large financial services company in which executives are always beginning new initiatives, trying out different strategies, seeing what works, shutting down the things that don't work, and scaling up the things that do. At any moment, this company is trying several new services in the marketplace and testing various hypotheses about corporate strategy.
This experimental approach allows the financial company's services to adjust to changing customer priorities. To accommodate this method of doing business, the corporation's underlying building blocksprocesses, applications, and infrastructuremust enable the development and deployment of new services. The building blocks must be capable of being rearranged in new ways. If they're not put together systematically, a negative ROI is inevitable.
In parallel to business flexibility issues, companies in a variety of industries are struggling with architecture fragmentation. Until recently, organizations created their own portal solutions by buying and assembling separate best-of-breed components that were not always compatible. This is akin to people buying car components and assembling their own cars. The problem is that cars may not have the same parts or be built in a standard way. Repair and maintenance become very costly.
This is exactly the reason why many organizations are rolling up hundreds of disparate, departmental portal initiatives under the enterprise architecture approach (see Figure 1). Having hundreds of stand-alone portals is inefficient in terms of people, money, and time. In addition, fragmentation inhibits organizations from modifying their customer-facing processes to accommodate changing market conditions.
Many partial solutions have come to market in an attempt to address the need for a portal foundation. No single approach has addressed all the different aspects necessaryuntil now. Service platforms are emerging to solve the flexibility and fragmentation problem.
Figure 1 Moving from portals to an enterprise service platform.