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A single piece of information: pipeline or platform

A few years ago, if an organisation wanted to present a piece of information to their customers they might go through a process something like: decide what to write, write it, publish it on their website, tell customers where to go to read it. This is a pipeline approach. The value flows from step to step in a linear fashion from the organisation through a single interface to the customer.

Nowadays, if an organisation that uses platform-thinking wants to present some information to customers, they’d take a different approach. They’d consider what words to use to make it as easy to understand as possible, what languages it could be translated into so more people can read it. They’d store the content in a system and format that enables quick and reliable access. Then the same content could be accessed via internal FAQ’s, customer service agents on the phone, automated chatbot, and the website. This platform approach multiplies the value of the content.

Pipeline-thinking comes from industrial production where an item was produced for a single use. Platform-thinking is of the internet age where data can be quickly reformatted and reused. Organisations that move their thinking from pipeline to platform can leverage their assets to maximize value. Organisations that maintain pipeline approaches won’t stand much of a chance against those that don’t.