Define the Problem - Building a Business Technology Platform - Tekenlight

Building a Business Technology Platform – Define the Problem

Over the years, modern technology stacks have come to disrupt the product technology platforms, giving more power to the builders, and enabling superior user experience. But what has not changed substantially, is the process through which these platforms are built – some things do stand the test of time! Our approach to building technology platforms for businesses is rooted in basics – stability, predictability, scalability, security, and user experience. We’ve been building such platforms based on these pillars, if you may, and they have worked well, even when automated scalability was required.

But it all begins with the Why, the What, the How, the Who, and the When.
What are you building? What problem does the platform solve?
Who are you building it for? How is the user’s life going to be better, using your platform?
Let’s dive in.

As humans evolve in their needs, new needs come up. A wired telephone created the need for a wireless device, giving birth to the mobile phone. The mobile phone created the need for an interface that you could interact with the phone through, giving birth to the smartphone. At every step, a new disruption emerged in the markets, and this happened not through a brainwave that appeared in someone’s sleep, it happened through understanding users’ behaviour and needs, and then defining the problem.

Similarly, when we look at the platform side of things, CLI-based interfaces made way for GUIs (we still love our CLI!). Technologies evolved, and placed more computing power in the hands of users, and at the same time, gave platform developers massive resources to let their imagination flow.


Why do you want to build the platform?
The answer to this question might border on the philosophical or could be quite transactional. This is the vision that you have for your product or platform. Whether you are solving a problem that exists or you perceive it to exist later or whether it is about disrupting a market that already has similar products and platforms, your why guides your technology through every phase of its development.

Think about it – your tech stack would be different if you are building for the under-banked as compared to something that you might want to build for high-earning individuals to get them access to exclusive deals based on their credit score.

Your user experience would be different in both the instances, factoring in the consumer behaviour that your target customers exhibit. More on that later.


What are you building?
The ‘what’ can’t apply for the global population – you need to identify the access for your specific target segment and then go and solve the problem for them. Technology acts as an enabler in solving the problem but it’s the mission that you have for the platform, that drives everything that you build. Your platform could be an aggregator of information from various sources or it could be a source of information for other platforms. It could be an analysis engine for enabling distribution of services or it could be a platform that lets users build their own thing – the what gives you a functional view of your vision.


How will it work?
Will your technology-driven product be consumed on a handheld device or on a laptop or a tab or will it be entirely driven through gestures and voice commands? Your product should simplify the processes that your users get on your platform for. If there are other similar solutions that offer a better user experience, you need to identify what you can do differently in delivering that experience.
An important aspect of service delivery through technology is the role of data connectivity. Does your platform require continued connectivity to the web? How can you make it work in an asynchronous manner so that the user is able to perform the tasks when not connected to the web, and sync all the data when they do connect to the web. The how defines your product’s roadmap to reach the goals that you want it to achieve.


Who are you building it for?
We discussed this aspect in the beginning of this blog. Many products fail to find product-market-fit because the built product is for personas that don’t require that product. Those who require the product, probably find it too cumbersome to navigate. When figuring a tech stack for your product or platform, you need to understand the technological adaptability & prowess of your end consumers, along with the technological penetration in that target segment. If your product is aimed at the elderly and it is overly complex to navigate it and to buy it, you probably have not figured the how for your who. See how each of these aspects is related to the other?

You could have the most sophisticated tech stack for your platform but the computing requirements of your end consumers might be so miniscule that your investments in technology could be an overkill and a drain. Always look for a simple solution without complicating it. The who also defines your audience that you are building for. Thorough research and analysis of your target segments will help you minimize your technology costs, help you deliver a better user experience to your consumers, and help you scale up easily.


When should you invest more in technology? Many organisations falter when answering this question, and righty so. Higher investments in technology right at the beginning might be of merit when you are building cutting-edge data analytics platforms that require extremely high computation power, but other business scenarios might not warrant such an investment. But then, what about the time when the product of the platform has stabilized? Or what happens when the product becomes an overnight hit and there’s a sudden surge of traffic to consume your APIs, for instance? These questions need to be answered in the context of your business framework. Becoming an overnight success is the best way possible for a platform to grow and scaling the platform for such a situation requires an architecture that can perform the task effortlessly. The same might not be applicable to adding a new feature to the platform, a feature that could see the usage skyrocket, but a feature that can be rolled out in a phased manner.

We have handled such business and technology dilemmas with ease and that because we understand how the scaling and addition of features can work seamlessly across large enterprise data and platforms.

When you know the Why and the Who, we will work with you to build the What and the How, and help you understand the When.

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