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Connecting Technology Layers to Achieve Excellent Business Outcomes

Technology lives and dies through two key metrics; technology performance and user adoption. Naturally, the former drives the latter. Have a bad experience once and 40% of people do not return to applications.

Reflecting these two key metrics, the PTI Consulting approach to delivering technological excellence is to view the estate across three interdependent layers, all of which have to be in alignment to enable the basics to be completed well and form a basis from which the exceptional can grow.

A typical approach is summarised in the graphic below;

Drawing a level deeper, the layers can broadly be described as below;

The Infrastructural Layer

The underlying infrastructure that powers the application and data layers above it. This is often summarised as the network and backhaul to offsite services. The infrastructure may not have a direct impact on a specific business goal or outcome, but without the correct foundation in place, the overarching outcomes will not be achieved.

The Application Layer

From mobile applications in the App Store to a club/venue website, through business applications such as Microsoft Office or a ticketing platform, the application layer is where the software comes to life. Dependant on the infrastructure to run, be that a simple internet connection or a more detailed network requirement, it is the applications used that provide the entry point for data entry. This layer is often front row, centre when people think of technology as it is the most tangible to a consumer.

The Data Layer

The data layer is a product of the other two; as an input of data from a user through the output of applications, reporting or data exports as examples. All data is intrinsically linked to one or more applications.

A Practical Example

We’ve all logged on to public Wi-Fi before, in a coffee shop for example. Here is how the layers work together to deliver consumer and business outcomes.

What Happens When They are out of Alignment?

Using the coffee shop Wi-Fi example;

Layer of FailureConsumer OutcomeCorporate Outcome
  • Data is unable to flow through the application to create authentication to the infrastructure
  • Net result – no connection
  • Reputational damage
  • Potential customer loss
  • Lack of insight on customer behaviours
  • Failed investment into technology
  • Whilst the application may work so far as the consumer is concerned, the net result is again no connection
  • Whilst the device may seem connected, this isn’t the case, causing frustration and a lack of trust in the offering

With the data layer an input or outcome for the other two, it is not able to fail – it is merely dependant on the other layers for success.

The PTI Consulting Approach

Typically, PTI plan strategies from the data layer backward, with the logical flow being;

  • Data is the start and the endpoint
  • Once these points are known and agreed you can plan the applications required to service them
  • Once the applications are defined you can model the infrastructural needs required to support the application layer and, therefore, the data layer
  • In this way, you will ensure that technology performs and thus drive user adoption
  • The virtuous circle is complete.

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