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The 6 Platform Features That Matter Most

Why You Should Think Platform, Not SaaS

Let’s start with this: what does it mean to be a software platform?

According to IBM, PaaS, or platform as a service, is on-demand access to a complete, ready-to-use, cloud-hosted platform for developing, running, maintaining, and managing applications. On the other hand, SaaS, or software as a service, is on-demand access to ready-to-use, cloud-hosted application software.

A hand touching a screen with graphics

Why might PaaS be a better choice for your business than SaaS when driving digital transformation? When choosing a platform, it’s important to know everything you can about platform selection and adoption, as well as features and best practices.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at which platform capabilities matter, including the technical aspects that buyers should be concerned about.

Why a Platform?

Instead of using a cookie-cutter approach like SaaS solutions usually offer, a platform allows you to incorporate your own unique knowledge and strategy for your business. Not only can a platform provide best-in-class, built-in commerce modules, it works with your existing systems and processes.

PaaS also stands the test of time; it won’t become outdated. Instead, it will grow with your business, changing with you as your business changes. Additionally, a platform maximizes existing skills and knowledge while minimizing new and unique knowledge requirements. In other words, it accelerates time to value, which makes it easier to use.

How to Choose a Platform

When choosing a platform, make sure it has the following capabilities.

  1. It’s self service.
    You want to be able to make changes to your environments, data, science / artificial intelligence algorithms, and business logic when you want to and according to your processes.
  2. It has the right building blocks.
    The platform must include critical capabilities such as pricing, quoting, revenue management (RM), and more as building blocks. This will allow you to configure the platform as an extension of your existing commerce ecosystem.
  3. It scales with your business.
    The platform must be scalable and elastic to handle your business volumes.
  4. It uses approachable, common technologies.
    The platform must provide a low-code approach to help you and your partners focus on business logic development—not on the technology and infrastructure required to support that business logic. The technologies required to develop against the platform must be established, popular, and with a focus on the ability to find talent easily.
  5. It offers extensibility.
    The platform must allow you and your partners to easily customize and extend its capabilities so that they can better suit your business processes. This extensibility must be supported via workflows, configuration, and coding.

The following are core platform capabilities that must be extensible:

You must be able to export and import data as you need to, as well as shape the data to your business needs now and over time.

Out-of-the-box integration with the most common systems must be available in the platform. You’ll want to be able to integrate with anything, via built-in tools or open APIs.

UI Workflows
In addition to the configurable workflows that are available out of the box, the platform must allow your business to build your own widgets which can be plugged into workflows and other tools where users work, such as the CRM.

Science Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The platform must not only provide built-in, out-of-the-box algorithms that are configurable to your business, but also allow your business and its users to build, deploy, and use their own algorithms.

Business Logic Customizations
You’ll want to be able to build, deploy, and use your own business logic; this will allow you to customize and configure the built-in logic to your unique business needs.

Developer Ecosystem
The platform must support an ecosystem of developers and partners developing on the platform, with resources on GitHub and the developer portal to help users get started. With a platform like the PROS API, we organize our APIs, document them on the developer portal, and provide a toolkit to customer developers to consume the platform. This way, our low-code platform enables customers to rapidly develop, deploy, and manage customizations.

Why the PROS Platform Is Your Best Bet

At PROS, we’re business applications platform experts. We’ve been building our product according to these best practices for years, which is why we can advise you on what technology your business needs to put in place for success.

We have been working to improve our customers’ ability to extend PROS as a part of their digital transformation journey, transforming from a set of SaaS applications to a cloud business applications platform. As we do so, we strive to continue to achieve the PROS business mission of the commerce functions, such as quoting and pricing in theB2B space, configure price quote (CPQ) workflows, and revenue management (RM) in the airlines space, all while working harmoniously and integrating seamlessly with other systems such as the CRM and reservation systems.

The PROS Platform not only supports modern commerce in the digital age, but it also makes it easier for you to run your unique business models while gaining the advantage of SaaS software without a lot of custom development. As a result, you can focus on running your business—not on the technology that isn’t core to your business functions.

Want to learn more about how PROS can help your business implement a platform? Contact us today.

Keep an eye out for future posts in which we’ll discuss the technical aspects of the key extensible capabilities of the platform.

To talk more about the benefits of a platform, please contact us!

About the Author

Hari Krishnan is a Senior Architect in the Office of the CTO at PROS. Hari has been with PROS for over 13 years, currently leading the technology strategy for the PROS Data and Science platform. Hari holds a degree in computer science and engineering from the National Institute of Technology Surat. His past roles include Technical Lead in Product Development (Pricing Science) and several Senior Software Engineer positions.

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