Why platform matters to project and services driven businesses
This guest post was written by Jeanne Urich, Service Performance Insight managing director and management consultant specializing in improvement and transformation for project and service-oriented organizations. She is a world-renowned thought leader, speaker, and author on all aspects of Professional Services.
With the evolution of enterprise cloud applications, today’s businesses are managing tens of disparate cloud applications. Although the rush to the cloud has dramatically reduced the cost of business applications, a new host of problems have arisen out of the cost and complexity of managing multiple vendors and ensuring their applications share data and talk to one another.
The cloud has ushered in a new era of siloed business processes with each department and function selecting and managing their own set of applications. Now, in the third decade of cloud computing, the new name of the game has become platform standardization with key players emerging as the dominant platform providers, each with their own partner ecosystems. Leading platforms such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Salesforce in turn are developing their own standards for mobility, integration, artificial intelligence, security, data analytics, user experience, and business process optimization; reducing time to market and the total cost of ownership. For buyers, standardizing on a platform offers the advantages of “one throat to choke”, improving buyer leverage and reducing support and integration costs. Today’s Professional Services organizations are not only adopting cloud applications to run their own businesses, but they must also start making strategic decisions regarding the number of cloud platforms they will support.
Professional services organizations can only optimize performance and profitability if employees and functions communicate and collaborate effectively. Salesforce has developed one of the world’s leading business application platforms providing jobs for over 9.3 million users, developers, and employees. The Salesforce AppExchange supports a portfolio of over 7,000 business applications which extend the Salesforce ecosystem with industry and domain-specific applications built by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) like FinancialForce.
The Salesforce Customer 360 platform provides an extensive array of capabilities including a consistent and powerful user interface, state-of-the-art data analytics, and artificial intelligence all backed by industry-leading interoperability and collaboration. Just as Salesforce CRM has revolutionized sales and marketing, the Salesforce Customer 360 platform itself is now revolutionizing how client-centric businesses and ISVs sell, market, service, and monetize all aspects of their customer interactions.
Fifteen years ago, Service Performance Insight built the Professional Services Maturity Model™ to benchmark and analyze all facets of running a project- and service-driven business. With data provided by over 7,000 PSOs, the model has become the gold standard for measuring service industry performance. One of the core tenets of the model is that five Service Performance Pillars™ (functions) form the foundation for all project and service-oriented organizations: Leadership – Vision, Strategy and Culture; Client Relationships – Sales, Marketing and Partnering; Talent; Service Execution; and Finance and Operations.
Salesforce.com Cloud Platform Improves Maturity (5-point scale)
Based on the SPI’s 2021 PS Maturity™ benchmark of 561 project and service-driven organizations, 46% of the organizations in the survey rely on Salesforce as their platform of choice. When comparing the “maturity” scores across the five Service Performance Pillars™ using a 1 to 5 scale, with “5” representing “best”, the chart provides a compelling picture of the positive impact of the Salesforce platform. The Salesforce platform drives significant performance advantages across all five dimensions.
The movement toward platforms has been a boon to both business users and application developers. Time to market is always a competitive advantage, but so are multi-platform support, scalability, ease of development, and the ability to collect and analyze big data. Mobile application standardization reduces the cost and complexity of developing beautiful, easy-to-use mobile applications while reducing ongoing support costs. Business user adoption is enhanced when applications not only share information but also have the same “look and feel”, maximizing usability and reducing the learning curve.
The Salesforce AppExchange is the leading enterprise application marketplace with thousands of complimentary applications, tools, business process flows, and data available to Salesforce customers and partners. The AppExchange ensures integration and “plug and play” information sharing which dramatically extends the Salesforce ecosystem while reducing development costs. Application developers are able to focus on their core areas of expertise, rather than building the underlying plumbing and architecture. By offering solutions on a common platform, business users gain greater efficiency and ease of use as the applications look and feel the same, meaning reduced costs in terms of training, frustration, and errors.
On top of the interoperability and time to market advantages of the Salesforce Platform and AppExchange, Salesforce supports its platform and business applications around the world with one of the largest and most secure data center networks. Salesforce’s global reach means applications are available at scale around the world. Even better, due to Salesforce’s market dominance and economies of scale, the cost to run applications on the Salesforce platform is often far less than competing platforms.