Strategy For Building Digital Platforms

I recently visited with senior executives at Exela Technologies to discuss the interesting strategy their company undertook to succeed in the digital world. Exela’s success is like a caterpillar that goes into a cocoon and emerges as something completely different. The “caterpillar” was stodgy, low-margin, traditional BPO services – uninteresting work in a very mature market. They went into a digital cocoon, worked for several years reinventing the business and came out as a beautiful butterfly with fabulous – tested and working – digital platforms and turned the business from mildly profitable to very profitable. Many executives believe their companies can reengineer back-office processes onto a digital platform; however, they encounter problems in trying to do this. How did Exela’s strategy succeed where others fail?

The company began as a group of private equity investors. In 2005 Exela bought very mature labor- and process-oriented BPO companies providing services such as mailroom and claims processing, which had large client bases. Exela then spent the last five to 10 years systematically re-engineering those processes, using the data and customer experiences from those BPO companies’, to build a set of digital platforms.

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