Open Platform for Your Small Business

Reading various posts about application development platforms for IPhone, Blackberry, Vodafone, Android and many others.

Being a big fan of Wikinomics, Crowdsourcing and all those visionary 2.0 concepts....I can't help think....should every company have an open platform for their business?

Is this R&D 2.0. Many companies can't even afford an R&D Department, maybe they can crowdsource it?

Seems the place to start for most companies is having a blog where people can comment on company activities, this is the first step.

Second step would be having a forum or group as well as an interactive business presence on top or relevant social networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Then taking it to the next level company could offer open data API to their company products, services, financial data, customer demographics. This would create a class of super user or customer that would be directly involved with business research and development. Obviously this has to be approached cautiously, but with a plan it can be done.

Then depending on your business model you could open up and let the public at large build sections of your web site, social networking applications, suggest marketing initiatives, be involved with product development. Basically any part of your business could be given a layer of involvement by registered partners or public at large via your companies open platform.

Definitely at first glance this seems like a utopian view, but if you think about it every company could explore this and find success in small areas. You don't have to open up a full blown Facebook or Google platform, but consider it.
  • Are there ways we can involve our users, customers or partners in a better way?
  • Can they help steer where our products go?
  • Can they help us rapidly develop applications or tools that we could adopt?
  • Can they take another look at our data and show us perspectives we didn't consider?
Think about it. You may be missing opportunities in this tough economic times to grow your R&D without any new financial investments. You might get your most passionate users involved in ways you never dreamed of.

Poke your head into a new way of thinking for your business with an Open Platform for Your Small Business.