What you should consider when developing your new online platform

Tips for creating a platform

The job description of a CIO has changed considerably in the last decade. Other C-level positions such as Chief Digital Officer and Chief Customer Officer have made it clear that the digital transformation is progressing and bringing changes with it. However, digital transformation is not exclusively about the technical part of a company, but about the entire company processes and structures. That is why it is important to break away from outdated ideas and routines and focus more on innovation and cross-departmental collaboration.

Think beforehand about what the platform must be able to do

Designing an online platform needs to be well thought out. After all, it should serve you as a flagship for your company for several years, be technically secure and efficient as well as visually appealing. Both customers and applicants often judge your company by its online presence, and it is often the very first contact between you and your stakeholders. Here it becomes clear what effects a successful or unsuccessful online presence can have. That's why even the first step - good planning - is fundamental to later success.

What problems should the platform solve? What must it be technically capable of? What security aspects need to be taken into account?

Questions arise immediately that need to be answered before the actual development of the platform can begin.  The answers or solutions to these questions in turn form the basis for the requirements catalog that developers need to estimate the effort and costs for a project. In order to save time and avoid unnecessary planning errors, many companies turn to experts right at the start, for example, to work out the requirements catalog together in the form of a workshop. However, requirements are also related to the complexity of the project. Our platform configurator gives you an estimate of the complexity of your project in just a few steps.

Choosing the right technology

Depending on the industry in which your company operates, your online platform will include different technologies. For example, if you offer online banking or any other business that is monetary in nature, security is likely to be even more important than in other industries.

In addition, there is also the question of which content management system you would like to work with. We have had very good experiences with Symfony as a framework and work with SULU.io as a CMS solution. Both Symfony and SULU.io are open source solutions, so there are no additional fees for using them. Of course, we also cooperate with Swiss data centers.

Another interesting question is how easy it is to find a developer for a certain technology. Some stack may have a very good reputation and be in line with the current trend, but it is usually harder to find programmers for it. This point should definitely be taken into account to guarantee further development of your platform.

Data protection - You need to be prepared for these changes

After the new General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) was adopted in the EU some time ago and will come into force in spring 2018, a corresponding legislative proposal is now also available in Switzerland.

According to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), there will be a right to delete all data in the future. It must therefore be possible to comply with this wish to digitally forget personal data. In addition, the Swiss Data Protection Act (SDG) must also be taken into account. It is currently planned to significantly expand the criminal liability of persons who commit acts in the area of data processing, which means that those affected will have to act even more prudently. More information on data protection for Switzerland can be found here Data privacy consulting.

Which processes can be usefully digitized?

Digital transformation is an intensive process. It is important to think it through in the long term and to critically evaluate its internal processes. For some processes, it makes sense from a financial and time perspective to digitize them, while other processes that involve sensitive data, such as medical data, medical records or company secrets, require special protective measures. You can also read here about our solution for handling particularly sensitive data.

The focus of successful companies is primarily on customers and thus on the active optimization of customer relationships. In the context of digitization, customer behavior and expectations have changed rapidly and fundamentally. In addition to new functions, products and services, in some cases completely new digital business models are required. Those who fail to respond to the changes that these needs are causing and do not adapt their offerings accordingly are very likely to be left behind in the race to digital transformation. Here, too, there are specialists who can help identify the customer needs for a company. Approaches and solutions can be found, for example, in the design thinking methodology, but also in the classic User Experience Design.

Many companies work with vast amounts of documents that need to be shared with customers. Therefore, it is recommended to integrate possibilities for the exchange of data. This ultimately eliminates the need for outdated and complicated solutions such as FTP servers.

Depending on the nature of a company's benefits and services, an integrated customer portal has clear advantages: For example, it offers a much higher level of clarity than e-mail traffic, because all communication and services can be stored centrally and securely in one place. The integration of a task management system also saves time and thus costs. Thanks to visible deadlines and project updates, users can check the project status themselves without having to contact the company

The development of and linking to knowledge databases, in "Wiki" style, can support the collection of repetitive tasks, information, explanations or processes and make them intelligently and quickly accessible. This can be useful for training new employees as well as supporting communication        

Those who think long-term take scalability into account

Online platforms are undoubtedly labor intensive. However, with some planning and foresight, you can save some time in the future. It is important to think in advance about how the platform and the individual components can be scaled if the platform is suddenly visited by 100,000 or even several million users instead of 10,000. On the one hand, this means more work for the server, and on the other hand, it also means more work for many of those involved in the process, because customer inquiries of all kinds have to be processed promptly.

Another point is the development of new markets. For example, you are currently active in the D-A-CH region, but would like to open up other EMEA markets in the future? With the help of a good platform, the effort on the technical side remains low, as your platform can be rolled out via the respective country domain with just a few adjustments and can thus be integrated into the company's digital strategy without difficulty. The primary challenge here is to find a competent translator and to meet the requirements of the respective local market.

What does the development of an online platform cost?

Our platform configurator helps you select the right technical components, modules and features for you in a simple, clear way. You will receive information about the complexity of the project as well as a rough cost estimate for the implementation - so that you have an overview right from the start.