Like many mature enterprises, Pitney Bowes—maker of the nearly century-old office postage meter—is reinventing itself as a technology company. I recently spoke with Kyle Pause, Pitney Bowes’ Director of Software Engineering, about how the company has embraced platform thinking to fuel its business transformation and stay relevant in today’s digital world.
Chris Wiborg: When did Pitney Bowes begin its digital transformation?
Kyle Pause: We started on our journey about four years ago. Roger Pilc, our Chief Innovation Officer, was the driving force behind it. He recognized that Pitney Bowes needs to think of itself as a technology company and that to win in the marketplace we needed to build out an organization that can leverage mobile, data, SaaS, IoT, and other technologies.
CW: How does platform thinking play into Pitney’s transformation?
KP: For Pitney Bowes’ first 100 years, our primary platform was the mail meter and we owned the entire production of client value—the meter itself and all its services and add-ons. As our industry changed, we realized we couldn’t deliver the level of value customers expect with this strategy. So now we’re moving onto the platform for Pitney Bowes’ second century, the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud. The platform enables clients to access a broad range of innovation not just from Pitney Bowes, but from partners too.
CW: What are your business objectives for the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud?
KP: We see the platform delivering business value in three areas. Our first objective is to increase client value through a digital relationship and experience. Our second is to accelerate the delivery of new digital products and services—to get them to market faster. And, third, we want to aggressively expand our client base and open up opportunities for innovation through a broader partner ecosystem.
CW: How are you using Alfresco Process Services in the Commerce Cloud?
KP: Alfresco Process Services orchestrates the provisioning flows when we onboard a customer to a Commerce Cloud offering. It’s played a critical role in helping us automate, streamline, and make those flows much more efficient. For one product, we cut onboarding time from three days to five seconds.
CW: You said faster time to market is important. What was your experience implementing Alfresco Process Services?
KP: The time to value was just incredible. We staffed up a team offshore in Oct 2015. We gave them a set of requirements, training, and architectural support. Five months later, Alfresco Process Services was running in production for the most significant launch Pitney Bowes has done in more than a decade.
CW: You’re running Alfresco Process Services on Amazon Web Services. How’s that going?
KP: The combination of Alfresco Process Services and AWS has been very successful for us. We’ve been able to run very efficiently and cost-effectively with tremendous uptime and SLA performance.
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CW: How are you using the Commerce Cloud as a platform to build a partner ecosystem?
KP: We see externalizing our platform as a tremendously important step in Pitney Bowes’ evolution and ability to deliver more customer value. We recently launched the Small Business Partner Program so that SaaS and mobile app companies can leverage the capabilities of the Commerce Cloud and our next-generation SendPro C-Series meters. We’ve also got an extensive portfolio of public APIs so that developers can integrate our shipping, mailing, and digital commerce capabilities into their solutions.
CW: How are you measuring the success of your digital transformation?
KP: Revenue growth is one of the key benchmarks that we are measuring ourselves against, and we are starting to see success there. Q4 2017 was Pitney Bowes’ first quarter of revenue growth for nearly a decade. We think this digital transformation has put us on a revenue growth trajectory that we’re really excited about.
Kyle shared Pitney Bowes’ digital transformation story in our webinar Platform Thinking: The IT Innovator’s Strategy for Modernization and Business Transformation. Kyle was joined by Sangeet Paul Choudary, author of the international best-seller Platform Revolution. Watch the webinar on demand, and also join the conversation on our social channels via Twitter and LinkedIn by using the hashtags #platformthinking #platformdisruption.