Driving agility through systems of differentiation


Data-driven application development, an area that until recently was limited to only IT teams, is increasingly falling under the radar of business leaders. One reason for this is the need to align technology with the business to enable differentiation and innovation.

So, when developing modern applications, Gartner encourages organizations to consider three different system layers as per its Pace Layered Application Strategy. These are:

 Systems of recordSystems of differentiationSystems of engagement
Based on Common ideas/conceptsOrganization-specific ideas/conceptsInnovative ideas/concepts
PurposeStores core data such as HR, financial and procurement recordsUsed for integration, analytics, and distribution of core dataUsed for emerging processes to suit business needs
ExamplesCRM and ERP systems, databases and data warehousesAPI management, business rules management, process orchestrationConsumer/partner apps, content management, employee apps, analytics


What are the systems of differentiation?

Systems of differentiation support functions and processes that are unique to your business. Compared to systems of record, their build requires more focus from business and IT teams. But they are also more configurable, deliver greater value, and enable truly differentiated organizational processes that help you stand apart from the competition.

However, conventional systems of differentiation often lack the foundational capabilities to address the speed, agility, and scale of engagement needed in today’s marketplace. Their new-age versions are more agile and scalable, and promise faster value to internal as well as external users as described below:


IndustryChallenges in conventional systems of differentiationCapabilities of new-age systems of differentiation
BankingNew offerings can’t be delivered without significant customization· Enables data exchange with corporate customers through real-time, dashboard-based tracking and seamless integration with core banking systems

· Supports transaction-based contextual promotions, cross-sell, and up-sell

InsuranceLegacy systems lack agility and are expensive to scale· Supports rule-based claim filters and fraud detection

· Automates the eligibility evaluation and underwriting processes using machine learning

RetailLegacy systems lack process integration capabilities and do not support data exchange· Provides API-first architecture

· Enables 360-degree customer views that simplify creating business rules and communicating about discounts and offers

· Provides a fully integrated shopping experience across various channels


How can you put data-driven systems of differentiation in place?

Option 1: Buy a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product that offers routine/standard data management capabilities; a product that has worked for other organizations with similar requirements.

The downside is that the one-size-fits-all approach of COTS products cannot serve all your business needs. A popular 80/20 rule here is: if the product does not offer 80% of the features you want out-of-the-box, it is not useful. Assuming it does, one must also consider whether the remaining 20% of the features are easy to build and cost-effective to maintain.

Option 2: Choose a custom solution designed specifically to suit your needs. Scalable, integration-ready, API-first architecture gives you the flexibility to start small, scale later, and build unique features for your business model.

The disadvantage: there’s always a price. Custom solutions are more expensive than COTS products, and the responsibility of knowing precisely what outcome is required is entirely on the organization that implements it, but COTS products need significantly more time and effort for customization.

Option 3: Build them using traditional programming platforms.

This may take time. Moreover, coupled with the fact that most IT teams are already under constant pressure to deploy enterprise applications faster (a demand which will only escalate in future), this option may stretch the capabilities of already overworked development teams.

Respond faster with low code platforms

Previously, low-code platforms were considered unsuitable for mission-critical applications as they didn’t offer high availability or the complex security features needed by modern-day applications. Today, however, these platforms have matured quite well to address these concerns. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that the total spending in low code platforms will hit $21 billion by 2022!

Modern low-code platforms help businesses develop new features on-the-go without investing in or hiring technical experts. Based on the principles of model-driven design, automatic code generation, and visual engineering, these platforms include configurable graphical user interfaces and enterprise-grade security features, while automating deployments to the cloud or on-premise.

In a nutshell, low code platforms empower IT as well as business users to confidently and easily build and configure applications to suit their needs. This not only improves agility and productivity but accelerates time to market so businesses can respond faster and more effectively.

Low-code features of ODP

Some of the winning features of low code platforms – its self-service nature, easy integration, and extreme user-friendliness – draw out similarities with CAPIOT’s Omni Data Platform (ODP).

ODP can release siloed data residing in systems of records so organizations can use it in a self-service manner. Pre-built connectors make integration easy while our API-first approach encourages innovation by helping business users interact with data, configure applications, and customize products in minutes.

All of this supports companies in unlocking hidden value at a lower cost and lesser time. One of our clients, an India-based insurer, was struggling with legacy systems that limited their ability to scale their products and services. Using CAPIOT’s ODP, the insurer replaced their monolithic COTS CRM system with a custom solution that cut licensing costs and provided greater flexibility when adding new channels or changing business processes to meet new requirements. For another client, a leading bank, ODP helped deliver a compliance solution to monitor and validate outward remittances in real-time.

The key to differentiation lies in business agility and user productivity. Low-code data platforms, like ODP, equip you with features so you can organize, manage and disseminate data and truly innovate.

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