As we discussed in How to disrupt business without interrupting your business, businesses that build a solid digital foundation are in a position to disrupt the business without raising the risk of introducing business-killing interruptions. Disruption is essential because it’s what drives companies to find new ways to respond to change.

But after you’ve established an all-digital platform, then what? One of the problems with the large-scale transformations of the past is the way software was developed and rolled out. Often, business interruptions were due to complex software that took a long time to develop and test. It wasn’t uncommon for software to be outdated by the time it was implemented.

That can’t happen in the all-digital world. Being digital means that a company is very responsive. And a big piece of being responsive is being fast. It’s that age-old concept of speed to value.

Intelligent Business Platforms allow organisations to codify their vision of the business into a portfolio of disruptive applications that can be quickly and easily updated in response to changing market conditions and business needs. Such platforms enable speed because in many cases they remove components of the development cycle that slow things down. And they put the power of development in the hands of users. There’s no miscommunication about what’s needed, and no time wasted trying to have IT interpret requirements for them. What traditionally took months to develop can be done in a matter of weeks and sometimes days, depending on the complexity of what is to be implemented.

These platforms offer a low-code application development component with opportunities for organisations to quickly implement digital capabilities. It is the concept of citizen development; it is software that writes software, and organisations don’t need IT to do for them what they can do for themselves.

Intelligent business platforms also allow you to connect the old with the new, so once you develop new digital-native capabilities, you can connect them to legacy systems. This is the best of both worlds. For example, you get the analytics and reporting built in, the interfaces and integration, the data and content, the process and business rules, the security and user experience, and mobility and collaboration. And these are not separate development efforts.

Another limitation with past development was the need to create different applications for different channels. Intelligent business platforms eliminate this need. You create an app once and then render it in multiple formats at the same time, such as the desktop, cloud, mobile and so forth. That’s what it means to have a platform. You don’t just develop an application; you develop the ecosystem for that application. You don’t even need to use it solely for building or extending application functionality, as it can be used to connect new and existing systems. Metaphorically, this is a way of building the plane while flying it.

An intelligent business platform is not a panacea to address all of IT’s issues, but it does answer many of them individually. And it is a powerful tool in helping companies achieve value quickly and minimise the potential of doing something that would interrupt the business.