How to drive innovation through platform agility

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To be successful today, businesses must be competitive, innovative, and fast-to-market. And this is increasingly difficult to achieve without being powered by agile payment platform technology.

About the author

Sujit Unni is Chief Technology Officer at Paysafe.

Platform technology’s effectiveness stems from its agility – the ability to make unlimited upgrades, and improvements at pace. Traditional practices of working on siloed product developments incur long lead times for the same updates, which is at best costly and more likely impossible. With an agile approach, you can update your tech constantly, creating a foundation for innovation and a competitive offering that delivers great customer experiences. These are important goals for every business and require the right environment if they are to be achieved.

But just how do you go about building an agile platform? Here are the three steps all agile platforms go through on the road to success:

Getting the right design

Your platform should be designed with agility in mind from Day One, and the core platform is a good place to start. Key to driving continuous innovation throughout the business is a composable architecture that allows enhancements to be made at pace, a stand-out advantage in platform technology. An essential part of this is APIs, which facilitate fast-moving and efficient system management to get developments and upgrades to market, improving customer experience in the process.

Another crucial component of platform architecture is abstraction, particularly in traditional industries such as banking. Abstraction in your payments platform ensures that arising thorny issues can't hinder overall performance, allowing for specific use cases to be managed separately from the platform itself.

An abstracted continuously improving processing platform can deliver a host of benefits. These include faster reactions to market changes, the ability to scale your business in line with the market, remaining up to date with the latest security and compliance, and delivering a more reliable service for customers. Combining these factors ensures a better experience for consumers, drives loyalty among your customer base, and benefits your reputation as an innovative business.

Finding the right tools

Delivering fast-to-market innovations is dependent on having excellent in-house capabilities as well as partnerships that allow you to implement pioneering features and concepts without delay.

Integration of products and services from partners that add value to your core offering is key. Taking advantage of the open ecosystem by collaborating and using the experience of third parties will deliver a competitive advantage which opens opportunities to extend your offering and engage new markets.

Another way to drive innovation across your business is to make your platform capabilities accessible to the wider organization. This modification to your tooling strategy can allow for previously siloed product and technology teams to access existing templates to increase efficiency and facilitate business-wide innovation.

Before you can expect to step up your build-test-deploy cycle, seamlessly implement upgrades and enhancements, or build your team’s capabilities to improve service, you must first evaluate your tooling strategy. Taking time to review your partnerships, workflows, and tools is essential as they play a significant role in enabling an agile platform.

Building the right culture

To build a great platform you need everyone on board, and that means bringing together the right people and investing in motivating and developing your team.

By sharing the bigger picture with the wider business, you can prevent the pitfalls that occur when vital insight is limited to management. By involving the whole organization, you share responsibility, build trust, and ensure your core goal is understood by all.

A significant challenge faced by well-established organizations is how to shape workplace behaviors into a strong company culture while still allowing cultural change as the business evolves. Culture is one of the most important factors in determining a business’ success and is often one of the most challenging to get right. To do so requires alignment in three main areas:

  1. Clearly defined goals
  2. Promotion of active design and collaboration with the wider organization on the implementation of hacks; empowering you team with expert external advisors and onboarding high-quality recruits
  3. Committing to continuous evaluation and regularly reviewing objectives

Everyone has a role to play in building a successful platform, whether developer, UX designer or business analyst, and as you nurture and develop talent your platform will benefit. Creating an environment where talent can thrive is an essential element of offering a competitive and dynamic platform and key to this is ensuring your understands the value they add to the organization.

Agile platforms accelerate innovation

Platform agility plays a pivotal role in the competitiveness of organizations as they battle to innovate at pace. Platform technology enables those who focus on continuous improvement to deliver a constant stream of upgrades for a better customer experience, whilst simultaneously bringing negative attention to those who are lagging with sluggish development cycles.

If you're interested in easy, alternative ways to pay check out our best mobile payments apps.

Sujit Unni is Chief Technology Officer at Paysafe.