The "P" Word

(This is an update to our overview of technology platforms)

Platforms are our friends. When connected properly, they make business better.

In this definition, Platforms are hosted (see Wikipedia's Cloud Computing) hardware/software that enable productivity. The Internet is a Platform for more efficient collaboration. Twitter is a hot new one causing thumb callouses and looking for a business model.

They are great as they focus and perfect on their niche solutions. But they are inefficient silos left unconnected to all your marketing efforts. (Does your Sales staff really use and benefit from your PR team blogging? They should but it is not easy/efficient enough for them.)

Integration of your most valuable Platforms is difficult but necessary. The goal is to be able to (as automatically as possible) manage, assess, and optimize. The answer today is to get an independent production team to assess what should be connected and how to hammer together custom solutions across your most valuable Platforms.

Efforts to automate across Platforms are stumbling - has been sued by Facebook because FB didn't like P's efforts to make all your social network (Platforms) accessible from one place. Isn't it a great idea to be able to connect all your posts and messages together? FB doesn't like the loss of control.

Should we be mad? Sure. Remember how we all hated AOL for being a private, expensive, "walled garden"? Well, our beloved FB, MySpace, and LinkedIn are just as exclusive. Their ease of activity and coolness are distracting our inevitable need for freedom. The Open Social initiative provides faint (Googlicious) hope.

Here is a list of recent editorial coverage of some of the best Platforms (Thanks Peter):
Commenting Platforms.
Collaboration Platforms.
Lifestreaming Platforms.

Here are two helpful Forrester Waves:

Key Points:

Put your tightened resource towards integrating and maximizing the Platforms, New Media tests, and legacy systems that are ALREADY valuable - like how to:
- Reengage existing customers
- Contact that forgotten database of prospects
- Put a spin on the current ad message
- Tweak your CMS to be more automated
- Find the efficiencies!

The direction is toward better relationships with your customers... Alain at Futurelab has a very practical list of 5 CMO Steps to Customer-Centricity.

This is, of course, related to my ongoing conversation about Duct Tape on Concrete.