Accelerating Innovation Through Harmonization and Reuse
About the Book
The Lure of Platforms
There must be something about platforms. According to a report compiled in 2020, 7 of the 10 most valuable companies in 2018 were based on a platform model. Ten years earlier, in 2008, that number was zero. Likewise, most successful IT departments have a platform strategy in place, often supported by cloud platforms.
However, building an in-house platform or pivoting into a platform business is far from trivial. Many platforms built by IT organizations struggle to be widely adopted and become obsolete too soon. Instead of fulfilling their promise of enabling innovation, such platforms become a bottleneck and face a slow but steady decline when their use is mandated in a last-ditch effort to make the economics work.
Harvested from almost a decade of building successful in-house platforms and enabling enterprises to leverage cloud platforms, this book provides a fresh look at what platforms are, helps you decide whether you should build one, and explains how to successfully grow a platform.
Six parts accompany an enterprise on a platform journey, mixing architectural rigor with real-life examples:
- Part I: Understanding Platforms: because "platform" is an overloaded term, it's helpful to first enumerate the types and characteristics of platforms
- Part II: A Strategy for Platforms: building platforms requires significant investment and stamina. It's therefore paramount to have a clear strategy in mind before embarking on a platform journey.
- Part III: Designing the Platform: platforms hide a lot of complexity but that means building one isn't trivial. This part discusses platform anatomy and important design decisions.
- Part IV: Growing the Platform: platforms aren't built overnight, so they need to evolve and also grow their user base
- Part V: Connecting the Platform: wiring your platform into a larger ecosystem requires interfaces and APIs. This chapter shares how to design them for ease of use and evolution.
- Part VI: Organizing for the Platform: platform teams need to be customer-centric but also have a clear vision. This part describes how to build and run a platform team.
- Part VII: Sustaining the Platform: platforms require delicate care and feeding over time so they don't fall victim to excessive entropy or become a bottleneck.
This book is part of the "Architect Elevator" series. These books are essential tools for architects and IT leaders who drive major strategic initiatives in enterprises or late-stage start-ups. By showing the big picture while developing deep insight at the same time, the books forgo simple answers and buzzwords in favor of mental models that help readers make better decisions.
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