The Infosys Labs research blog tracks trends in technology with a focus on applied research in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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Platformization, the new frontier for IT services

It was another busy day at office for Mr. Nayak, at 6 PM it's time to start for home. But, he is not going home today, how can he forgot his anniversary; he specifically set a reminder for it, after the goof up of last year. Mr. Nayak searches for wine & dine restaurants in his smartphone, the app automatically suggests him options for buying flowers and chocolates around the searched location.

The footfall at Malay's Kitchen has reduced to almost one quarter compared to six months ago, while the food rating and customer reviews doesn't show a picture of quality degradation. Couple of miles away from Malay's, few SEZ's started shifting the workforce to other part of city.

The knowledge of location information, location intelligence and "where the customer is now?" is the question that has the potential to serve as a business opportunity in the above two cases. We are entering an era where location based service will gradually transform into platformization of location. The usage of mobile maps by individual users for navigating intra-city, inter-city, finding places, exploring locality etc. has become routine practice. The maturity of the users and appreciation of services has made willingness of majority users to share their location data.

Google is aggressively marketing for Maps services via campaigns such as "LookBeforeYouLeave" or "BikeMode", while maps as a service doesn't generate any revenue, the future of location as platform has immense possibilities. Picture this; google already has profiles of the user having information like "Social-Economic-Personal-Professional" based on the mail, android, mobile usage. Add 24x7 location data of the user to it. Perfect recipe for a platform wherein third parties can leverage the insights for business opportunities. So, when Mr. Mayak searches for a location google already knows that it's his anniversary, and cognition is he might buy flowers, so suggest him best options for flower and chocolate near the searched location even before he looks for. Similarly, Malay's can leverage the location intelligence data to know that his core customers have shifted location. So, either a change in menu or order to delivery mode might be required to keep up the revenue.

Building platforms which are sustainable and appealing to the generation Z users is the key for business to create channels which will be future revenue generators. For example, platformization of location information is evidently going to open-up many such business prospects, wherein third parties or open users can innovate new models for monetization. Platforms with open architecture, developer community, and API network will lead to innovations in product and service development. A healthy ecosystem can grow which will be agile and sustainable.

There are huge opportunities for the IT services in this new wave of platformization. They can shift the role from system integrators to partners in the quest for building and maintaining the platforms. Incumbents should also board the bus of Platformization journey. There are broadly three areas where they could focus a) Developer community& API networks, b) Building Platforms for the clients, c) Product and Services on existing platforms. Tomorrows business needs to be where their customer is and in today's world of platform driven economy what could be better than that.

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