Report

The Essential Platform

Delivering a Web Site Fleet Platform Fit for the Future

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The Platform Principle
  3. Architecting a Platform
  4. Setting a Platform Strategy
  5. Conclusion and Way Forward
  6. About Jon Collins

Analysis

Enterprises today are looking to digitally transform, adopt more agile practices, innovate more quickly, deliver new capabilities and generate greater business value to both customers and shareholders. At the root of digital transformation is the fact that technology has become more accessible than ever: for example, it is now super-simple to create a web site or mobile application using one of many programming languages, open-source frameworks, and cloud-based services. Harness this potential right, and you gain “first-mover” advantage, keeping up with evolving customer needs, and generating value ahead of both traditional and market-disrupting, cloud-native competitors.

For traditional enterprises, across customer-facing verticals such as retail, finance, and healthcare, and in business-to-business, manufacturing, and industrial sectors, opportunities exist to match the deployment speed of cloud-native organizations, who release new services daily. Alongside such opportunities are the risks: not just of doing it wrong (models such as “fail-fast” encourage failure, as long as you learn from it) but also, of doing it right without the frameworks or controls necessary to manage the results. So-called ‘shadow IT’ captures the desire for marketing and other business functions to adopt new technology rather than waiting for IT departments to implement, alongside the challenge of operating without centrally coordinated governance.

The consequence is that corporations can have thousands, or even tens of thousands of web sites, apps and other capabilities, each built differently, using different languages, tools, and infrastructure, each requiring unique management and support. The financial overheads, whilst individually small, can be enormous for larger companies. In the worst case, the costs of managing the existing web site estate, in all its complexity, drain funding from the very innovation that caused them.

These factors drive a need for organizations to assert control so that existing systems and sites do not become a constraint on progress. While cloud-native practices may be sound in principle, they require strategic thinking around infrastructure, processes, and tools, building on a platform-based approach.

In this report, we cover:

  • Key drivers to platform-based architectures
  • Functional and architectural components
  • How to set a platform-based strategy
  • Where to start in terms of architecture, business case, and approach

Overall, this report offers a roadmap to delivering a platform that ensures a win-win between the business and IT, driving rather than hindering speed of innovation, and enabling the focus to be moved to more important areas such as customer engagement and business success.

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