Platforms That Make Sense: The Road to Win-Win Paradise

Make one out of four: The new HOLTER Platform
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Digital platforms are the subject of much heated discussion. Netural has a clear position here, and it is that of the user: If a platform addresses all target groups in truly inspiring ways while bringing measurable efficiency gains to business processes, real win-win has been achieved. If not, then not.

Two decades of experience in the digital business have taught us many lessons. The rhythm of innovation is one of those. For example, the average life cycle of a company web is seven years. At its end, the time has come for the next big step, and for completely rethinking technology, design and services.

These days, a great many companies are rethinking their web landscapes and the digitization of business processes in general. They frequently come across the term "platform". It's worth getting to the bottom of this, because "platform" is not a mere buzzword; it's an approach that makes comprehensive use of everything that is digitally possible today.

Ideally, a digital platform is a wish-fulfillment machine that serves all the target groups of a company without exception, providing everybody with individually tailored information and services, and efficiently driving the business because it is integrated across all of the company's business processes, running previously labor-intensive activities such as writing offers, processing orders, compiling parts lists, etc. on autopilot. If we interpret the term "platform economy" this way, then it indeed promises paradisiacal conditions: Users find the shortest route to fulfilling their wishes, and companies profit from the resulting enthusiasm. You could call it the win-win paradise.

Platform structures vary widely, for the obvious reason that they are designed to serve the company's individual needs and processes. The one thing they all have in common is that they address all user segments: Platforms are neither B2B nor B2C. They are contact points for business partners and end consumers alike - and they provide each user group with the appropriate choice and depth of information.

Ideally, platforms operate as information hubs between companies, sales channels, and consumers, generating tangible added value for all groups involved. Another common denominator is that users are necessarily the start point and end goal of every strategic and design consideration: User-centricity is the one key to creating successful platform solutions.

All this may sound a bit theoretical, yet it is proven fact. Netural has managed a proud array of platform projects in recent years. Let's take a look at a few examples that illustrate the impact of properly designed platforms on businesses and their success:

Holter Website

Plumbing wholesaler Holter has, until recently, operated a landscape of four separate webs to communicate with end consumers, architects and property developers, plumbers and construction companies. Netural has brought all information and services together on one platform, creating Holter´s information paradise for everyone, from traditional wholesale customers to planners and architects and on to young home-building families in search of inspiration for the look of their future bathrooms.

This step produced measurable success: Within thirty days after "going live," the new platform already produced 200 qualified business leads, while the digitized preparation of consultation meetings freed up sales staff most efficiently for their most important task, which is of course providing the best possible service to customers.

Enjoy voestalpine (eva)

The platform "eva" - an acronym for "enjoy voestalpine" - operates in the purely professional sector. Here, Netural was faced with the task of making the complex processes involved in order processing and logistics for thousands of steel grades as intuitive and simple as possible. With individualized user interfaces for customers as well as voest staff, the platform helps users to navigate through literally millions of data records in a matter of seconds. The tangible effect, beyond an impressive user experience, is a comprehensive simplification and acceleration of operations.

Silhouette Vision Sensation App

Another perfectly functioning hub between producer, sales channel and end consumer is the platform solution of eyewear brand Silhouette: Aware of the huge importance of qualified opticians for advice and service, Silhouette has introduced a dedicated web for the sale of optical glasses. It offers end customers genuine online shopping convenience and at the same time provides opticians with qualified leads - real, and measurably effective win-win-win for all parties involved.

What all these solutions have in common is that they can provide an almost unlimited range of services for both end customers and sales partners, that they make even the most enormous complexity disappear under enthusiastically comfortable, intuitive, inspiringly elegant user interfaces, and that they are all extremely data-driven.

Netural has developed its own tools to make data integration from a wide variety of sources effortless and efficient, and to manage web content conveniently. One of those tools, the headless CMS Storyblok, is currently making a world career as a spinoff.

However, advanced tools alone are not enough to make a difference. The Netural team has always cultivated its talent for understanding its clients' businesses and underlying processes. An important case analysis tool is "personas", user prototypes used to understand behaviors and needs. All the services of a platform are developed and set up from the perspective of these personas. This user centricity, together with outstanding user experience quality, ensures an astonishingly high acceptance of services and platforms as a whole: "Excellent platforms are built in such a way that users not just need them, but LOVE to use them," comments Netural CEO Albert Ortig. "We are taking a step beyond User Cetricity to Human Centricity."

Welcome To Paradise!

Article: 16.08.2022




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