The Power of a Platform in Today’s Digital Economy

Written By: Jonathan Lang
  • 2/9/2017

In today’s landscape of digital transformation, IT is viewed as not only the support of critical infrastructure, but core to the growth and transformation of your business. In this new role IT systems need to be agile and scalable, or risk limiting the business at large. 

The way this is achieved? Technology Platforms. According to a recent report by Accenture, successful enterprises across all industries are taking a platform-first approach to their business. In the report, Accenture affirms, “Platform ecosystems are nothing less than the foundation for new value creation in the digital economy.” 

What is a platform? At the most basic level, a platform is an out of the box application enabler. They provide the tools and structure to build and integrate applications quickly and flexibly. By delivering the right tools and components, solutions can be created and connected to one another with speed and agility, requiring less IT resources and speeding time to value for your applications. 

What are the main benefits of platforms?

Agility: Market needs are shifting more quickly than ever before. In order to adapt to opportunities faster than the competition, agility is essential. With an application platform, implementing and customizing applications takes weeks, not months. That’s time you can focus on growing your business and not waiting on lengthy systems integration projects.

Scalability: With increasing numbers of digital business systems and connected assets, enterprises need technology that scales as quickly as their needs. Increasing amounts of data provide the opportunity to unlock new and enhanced value, but only if those insights can be identified and the data can be managed effectively. Platforms enable growth in information systems without resource limitations. 

Interoperability: To allow for unbridled agility and scalability, applications need to be able to communicate with one another and with increasingly heterogeneous connected assets. And to maximize the value of data, it needs to be distributed across business units who can take action based on it. With application platforms, home-grown applications can be easily integrated with out of the box solutions, enabling businesses to get the most value out of their applications and data across the entire business.

Partners Ecosystem: The phrase “there’s an app for that” has penetrated the consumer computing space, and businesses are quickly discovering the same for themselves. Application platforms enable partner and developer ecosystems to increase the number of off-the-shelf solutions that solve discrete, and often industry specific, business needs. These ecosystems allow businesses to focus on growth and innovation, and not building apps.

What trends are we seeing with platforms? 

There are many categories of application platforms and what we are seeing is that their success depends on the co-creation of value between platform providers, ecosystem participants, and end-users. Successful platforms attract more developers who create better applications and in turn drives value for users. 

If we look to the early days of the PC as a model for success, success in today’s emerging technologies such as Smart, Connected Products, Industrie 4.0 Manufacturing, and Augmented Reality will depend on common platforms or operating systems to connect them across the business and ecosystems. Just as these early platforms connected digital systems to digital systems, IoT Platforms are enabling rapid deployment of different types of connected physical endpoints and digital business solutions. IoT platforms are poised to enable the scalability and interoperability of the physical and digital convergence. 

But not all IoT Platforms are created equally, and navigating this new landscape can be tough. That’s why PTC partnered with O’Reilly Media to develop a framework and roadmap for Evaluating and Choosing an IoT Platform. Included in this free research report are a roadmap for evaluating your IoT platform needs, characteristics and features of successful platforms, and guidance for selecting the right fit for your organization. 

Click Here to Read the O’Reilly report “Evaluating and Choosing an IoT Platform”

  • CAD
  • Industrial Connectivity
  • Industrial Internet of Things

About the Author

Jonathan Lang

Jonathan Lang is Principal Analyst for PTC’s Thought Leadership group. He is an accomplished technology market analyst, providing advisory to the full ecosystem - investors, enterprises, and vendors - on the impact of emerging technologies and digital transformation. Jonathan enjoys the outdoors and spends his weekends backpacking, rock climbing, and gardening.