Application Platforms and Business Strategy: Making the Connection
Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation
The Link Between Strategy and Platforms 3
How Application Platforms Support Business Strategy 3
A Closer Look at Application Platforms 5
Supporting Business Strategy: An Example Using the Microsoft Application Platform 6
An Overview of the Microsoft Application Platform 6
A Rental Car Company Scenario 8
Using Application Services 9
Using Integration Services 10
Using Data Services 11
About the Author 13
The Link Between Strategy and Platforms
Every organization pursues business strategies that differentiate it from its competitors. Application platforms, the software that supports custom applications, play an essential role in providing this differentiation. The applications they make possible are one of the most important ways—perhaps the most important way—that information technology can support unique business strategies.
This paper starts with a description of how business strategies depend on application platforms. It then provides a brief overview of Microsoft’s application platform, walking through its main components. Finally, the paper gives an example of how a fictitious rental car company’s decision to embark on a new business strategy relies on the capabilities of its application platform. The goal is to make clear the role an application platform plays in implementing an organization’s business strategies.
How Application Platforms Support Business Strategy
The essence of business strategy is being different. A firm might do different things from its competitors, for example, such as offering different products or addressing different markets. Alternatively, it might do the same things in different ways, such as providing a lower-cost service. In either case, what marks an action as strategic is its ability to differentiate an organization from its competitors,...