Breaking Through The Transformation Trap: Rethinking Enterprise Transformation With A Platform Approach

Boardroom conversations usually reserved for large tech transformations now focus on the shiny new thing on the block – generative AI (Gen AI). Everyone’s trying to figure out how to ride this Gen AI wave and see what magic it can work for their business. Unfortunately, their thinking is still stuck in the past.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein


Rethink Or Sink: New Rulebook For Tech Adoption In The AI Age


We’ve all seen it play out before. When robotic process automation (RPA) first hit the scene, most companies wanted “proof of concepts” (POCs). “Does this even work for us?” Then, a few years ago, it was the same thing with IDP—everyone was in the “try-before-you-buy” mindset.

But here’s where some businesses trip up: they’re still stuck on that old model, tackling little tasks here and there without seeing the big picture. Sure, automating a bunch of processes feels like progress, but is it really making waves? The real MVPs, like Amazon or those killer fintech startups, get it. They focus on perfecting entire user journeys from start to finish.

They think about scale at an enterprise level. They aren’t just focused on one-off use cases. They look at game-changing transformations that amp up value and ROI. They link tech changes directly to business outcomes, like better service and faster responses. That’s how they dominate.

With Gen AI on the horizon, companies wanting to dominate their niches must shake off that “POC-first” mindset that creates siloes and think end-to-end transformation. Especially because, unlike standalone tools like RPA, Gen AI isn’t just plug-and-play.

You’ve got to set up the whole digital playground for it. That means taming your unstructured data and integrating AI insights into your workflows. People won’t toggle between systems just to get AI insights. It might work in individual pockets, but if you try to scale it, it’ll break.


What Is Holding Your Digital Transformation Efforts Hostage?


In a rush to adopt new technologies, companies often succumb to the “Pilot Fallacy.” This is the tendency to try out every new technology just because it’s trending and then trying to find business use cases that fit! This technology-centric approach coupled with point solutions from multiple vendors results in a complex mix of outdated and new systems. Legacy systems persist due to high replacement costs and risks, while new systems struggle to keep pace with business evolution. And so, companies end up with:

People, process, data, network, and technology siloes: Organisational silos are bottlenecks on the road to digital transformation. They isolate information and lead to inefficiencies and confusion. IDC Market Research drops a reality check: companies are bleeding 20-30% of their revenue annually because of these enterprise siloes.

Unscalable point solutions: Point solutions that don’t talk to each other prevent companies from getting a holistic view of the business. These isolated solutions might give you a tactical edge, they are a big drain on time and money. They are a perfect setup for a tech meltdown where too many integration points become weak links. And as every technology evolves, this brittle foundation cannot keep up.

Suboptimal tech investments: As companies zero in on cost efficiencies, they fail to see the innovation potential of digital technologies for strategic differentiation. The success enterprises witness with a few use cases doesn’t necessarily translate to enterprise-wide adoption or larger transformative success.

For instance, McKinsey found that while 90% of companies have launched some flavour of digital transformation, only a third of the expected revenue benefits have been realised.


Platform Thinking: The Pivot You Need To Succeed In An AI-First World


Successful digital transformation stories aren’t just about a handful of winning scenarios. They are about understanding the intricate web that ties people, processes, data, tech, and networks together. A successful digital transformation mandates busting silos, boosting operational efficiencies, and augmenting human potential.

In our conversations with digital leaders, we’ve noticed that they’ve adopted a different approach for digital transformation – one that is based on a platform mindset. And that shift in thinking; the focus on a platform-based approach is where the gold is. If you want the full gains from digital transformation, then the goal shouldn’t be small wins; it should be end-to-end operational reimagination for maximum business gains.

Back in the day, when anyone talked about tech overhauls, it was all about setting a start date and a finish line—like, “We’re going to migrate X apps to the cloud by this date,” or “We’re getting rid of old-school systems by so and so date.” But now, with AI in the mix, the game has changed and become inherently dynamic.

AI isn’t just set-it-and-forget-it; it’s always evolving. You must keep checking in, giving feedback, and updating things. At the same time, other technologies are also evolving at a rapid pace and what is relevant today may be obsolete tomorrow. And so, you need a platform approach to insulate your business operations from these underlying technology dynamics.


How Digital Leaders Are Thriving With A Platform Approach


Digital leaders are integrating legacy and new technologies under a platform to fundamentally change their user journeys. They are getting closer to achieving the holy grail of operational excellence – straight-through-processing (STP). And once you achieve STP, the journey becomes scalable across the business.

Let’s take an example of a leading consumer goods company and their order processing journey to see how it pans out for them.

At its core, order processing is simple: a customer places an order, and the company processes and delivers it. In the real world, though, the story is very different. For the company, an order may come from a spectrum of customers (distributors) with very different asks. A big retailer might want them to pick orders through a sophisticated portal, while another distributor might send a PDF via email. An added complexity is the terminology used to place the order.

Think of it as ordering a “grande iced caramel macchiato” at one Starbucks and “a big cold coffee with caramel stuff” at another. The consumer goods company, in this instance, must sift through these millions of attributes and still get everyone the right shoes on time.

And then, after all this chaos, orders need to sync up with their internal systems (like SAP) to ensure they’ve got the shoes to send out in the first place. And then that information must go to logistics players who will actually ship the product.

The challenge lies in integrating all these systems to create seamless straight-through-processing keeping everyone in the loop with real-time updates. So instead of letting each app (or vendor) say, ‘Hey, I did my bit; my bots are working with 95% accuracy!’, we need to aim for that golden, end-to-end journey that ensures orders are processed correctly from the get-go.

A platform is like that all-in-one app, making everything seamless, from order to delivery. No more inventory pile-ups, no more lost sales, no more calls from disgruntled customers asking, ‘Where’s my stuff?’


Going From Legacy Siloes To Platform-Driven


Some of the most successful companies in the past decade – Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon – based their business on a platform-first approach and created mega-disruptions. But what about the companies that have been building their business for 30-40 years and have woven a complex web of legacy and new technologies? How can they pivot to a platform approach?

The first step is to evaluate objectively. Ask yourself: Are your investments in digital setting you up to join the disruptor league? Do you see the ROI you envisioned? How are you quantifying success in your transformation efforts? How are you leveling up against your peers? Are the strategies you’ve adopted in the last five years robust enough to propel you forward for the next decade? How do you even plan for a future you don’t know?

When it comes to evaluation, it’s not just about metrics but also what those metrics represent. Major players are not flexing about how much technology they have deployed. They’re all about how their tech drives their business forward. You can count all the bots you’ve deployed or how much data you’ve extracted from a document, but is that really the whole story? We need to think bigger, broader, and more holistic.

Instead of obsessing over use-case metrics we should be asking: How are our customers feeling? Are our employees thriving? How quickly can we respond to market disruptions? How quickly can we innovate and launch new offerings for our customers? How fast can we respond to shifting customer preferences?

It’s all about shifting from this tech-focused mindset to a more holistic, business-centered one.

Now, this doesn’t mean we trash the tech. Instead, we use it to bridge gaps. It’s about seeing the whole journey of a customer, an employee, or a process, not just one tiny part of it. When it comes to business performance, improving one step is great but enhancing the whole journey is legendary.


Overcoming Inertia


For all the talk of transformation, when it comes down to making big bets, there is understandable hesitation. No one wants to risk breaking what is working. Transformation can be a double-edged sword. Nail it, and your business soars. Fail, and you risk the Nokia fate. On top of that, transformation at scale can be expensive, “How do you fund and sustain the change?”

That’s why our approach to platform-first transformation is incremental. Start small, see tangible outcomes, then scale. It’s transformation in bite-sized, manageable chunks, which means immediate returns that can fund the larger vision without disrupting your day-to-day operations.

Ultimately a platform-based approach is about imbuing resilience, innovation, and scalability in your business. Let’s aim for that 10x growth and make sure we’re not just future-proof but future-ready.




About N Shashidhar:

N Shashidhar has over 25 years of IT industry experience, serving as VP and Global Platform Head of Edge Platforms, EdgeVerve, an Infosys subsidiary. He has significantly contributed to product development, leadership, and business transformation, playing a key role in the growth of Infosys’s Engineering Business and Products & Platforms division. Shashidhar holds a University Gold Medal in Engineering and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. His focus lies in driving software and business transformation, emphasizing continuous learning in the evolving IT landscape.

About EdgeVerve:

EdgeVerve Systems Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Infosys, is a global leader in developing digital platforms, empowering clients to unlock unlimited possibilities in their digital transformation journey. Our purpose is to inspire enterprises with the power of digital platforms, thereby enabling our clients to innovate on business models, drive game-changing efficiency, amplify human potential, and foster a connected ecosystem. Our comprehensive platform portfolio (EdgeVerve’s AI PlatformAssistEdgeXtractEdge, and TradeEdge) across Automation, Document AI, and Supply Chain helps inspire global enterprises to bridge silos in people, processes, data, & technology, discover & automate processes, digitize & structure unstructured data, and unlock the power of the network by integrating value chain partners. With a deep-rooted entrepreneurial culture, EdgeVerve’s innovations are helping global corporations across sectors such as financial services, insurance, retail, consumer and packaged goods, life sciences, manufacturing, telecom, utilities, and more.

EdgeVerve. Possibilities Unlimited.

For further information, please get in touch with [email protected]