So, how exactly does a platform differ from a product?
In simple terms, a software product is a set of tools from one company that comes in one package. Everything contained within that package is designed to work together, but it can be challenging to add on new tools that didn't originally come in the package.
For example, if you wanted to add a new help desk tool that works directly with your existing CRM, you'd need to build an integration that can connect the new tool to your existing product suite. The help desk tool wasn't originally designed to work with your product suite, but an integration can effectively enable them to pass information back and forth.
One-off integrations are useful if most of the tools you need already exist within your product suite, but they can get complicated fast and become difficult to troubleshoot. As your business grows, your needs will inevitably change, and the tools that worked for you originally might not be enough to keep you up and running. You'll need to supplement your original product suite with more outside tools -- and that means more integrations.
If you're just launching a business, it can be tempting to start small and purchase a contained set of basic tools in a software product suite. But if you plan on growing your business -- and I bet you do -- the tools that get you started are not the tools you'll need down the line. To truly solve for future growth, you need a way to easily connect different tools in one central place, without custom integrations that require a full-time employee to troubleshoot and maintain.
Originally published Jun 26, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated June 27 2019