5 Tech Platforms Underpinning Digital Transformation
Getting the tech stack right is an important component of a digital transformation strategy. Here ORM’s CTO Keith Nation looks at five of the leading tech systems underpinning many businesses’ digital transformations, highlights their strengths and suggests who they may be best suited to.
This is an experience management platform, designed to be more than a content management provider. It aims to provide any digital channel with a dynamic experience through the delivery of personalised content. Managed through its platform it can give businesses an understanding of who their customers are, how engaged they are, and based on that information tailor the customer experience.
Who Sitecore is suitable for: Large and mid-level organisations that need a fully integrated digital marketing suite (A/B testing, marketing automation, email marketing etc) and who are sophisticated enough to make good use of it.
This is an enterprise level experience management platform and is at the top of the market. Adobe is recognised as a leading vendor in the space and has helped develop the entire market through its integrated Marketing Cloud proposition, covering everything from content and campaign management, real-time targeting and analytics.
Who Adobe is suitable for: Traditionally, the Java technology stack fits well with big enterprises and organisations with sophisticated digital marketing needs. Although this is an enterprise-level vendor, Adobe also reaches into the mid-market.
Acquia is the commercial arm of Drupal, the most popular open-sourced content management system. It has a very strong community and its most recent version (Drupal 8) includes the latest tech trends with a loosely coupled, API-driven architecture. Acquia sells a managed solution, so you can create a Drupal site, deploy to the Acquia cloud where they host and manage that site for you, helping to shift some of the grunt work that goes along with operating a website.
Who Acquia is good for: This is much more of a true CMS platform, so it suits marketers concerned with publishing campaigns and managing content. That said, Acquia has built experience management tools into its platform, so it now has a personalisation engine, recommendation engine, and uses machine learning. This vendor is increasingly becoming more sophisticated, it is scaling its core offering and developing more elaborate tools.
This is the original cloud platform, conceived by the visionary Marc Benioff. It is a really powerful platform (Force.com) that can be customised to exactly fit an organisation’s needs - be that customer service, finance, CRM, marketing, sales etc. New applications can be created and deployed in a matter of days or weeks as opposed to months with traditional models. In recent times, Salesforce has continued to invest in its cloud offering, acquiring other capabilities such as commerce and most recently MuleSoft for cloud-based API integration. The only real competitor to Adobe, but has a slightly different offering in that there is no content offering, which suggests perhaps that there may be another acquisition pending.
Who is Salesforce good for: A lot of larger organisations have already adopted Salesforce in the back-office, so quite often newly built customer facing web platforms have to interface with Salesforce in some way. The subscription PAYG model means Salesforce can scale from very small companies to huge corporates and everything in-between.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon Web Services – not a single platform in the traditional sense, but a collection of cloud-based services that powers the many of the systems above (e.g. Acquia cloud). AWS provides massive elastic computing capacity that allows businesses to run and operate virtual infrastructures in the cloud - everything from basic servers, databases, storage drives through to IoT and machine learning.
Who is AWS good for: It’s hard to think of an organisation that wouldn’t benefit from using the Amazon cloud. Indeed, every business needs a cloud strategy to help make use of the amazing services that are now available. The PAYG model also suits small-scale organisations and the ability to reserve computing capacity can deliver huge benefits to larger organisations able to commit cash upfront.
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Technology alone will neither enable your organisation to digitally transform nor will it solve your business problems. As the eminent writer on technology Nicholas Carr says, “technology is not an end in itself, but the means to a strategic end”. All too often businesses get this the wrong way around, with the rush to buy the latest and greatest tech. Take a step back, consider the business objectives, understand your customers and then define a technology roadmap that will help you succeed.