2015-12-31

Typology of platforms

Platform concept

platform, noun
pre-existing piece of software to provide comprehensive functionality to other software pieces (i.e. applications) during some phases of their lifecycle


Note: Good platforms make simple things simple and complex things possible.
Note: "Piece" is a unit of deployment.
Note: All platforms are digital.
Note: Types of platforms mentioned below may be mixed in a particular software product.

Well-designed platforms follow the enterprise pattern Platform-Enabled Agile Solutions (PEAS) - see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2011/04/enterprise-patterns-peas.html

See also "Achieving synergy between diversity and uniformity via platforms" http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2016/01/achieving-synergy-between-diversity-and.html and "Platform-based #digital transformation (example egov)" http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2016/01/platform-based-digital-transformation.html

Development platforms 

Origin: IDE
Typical characteristics: developed applications operate outside the platform
Typical provisioning: on-premises
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS

Technological platforms

Origin: runtime libraries
Typical characteristics: technology encapsulation for applications
Typical provisioning: on-premises
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS
Examples: ESB products, mobility, API gateways, etc.

Operational platforms

Origin: OS
Typical characteristics: platforms improve non-functional characteristics of applications
Typical provisioning: on-premises
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS or home-made
Examples: automation toolset for devops, monitoring, performance measurements, containers, virtualisation, application servers


Application platforms (programmable monoliths)

Origin: IDE
Typical characteristics: applications operates within such platforms only (beware of the vendor lock-in)
Typical provisioning: SaaS or PaaS or on-premises
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS
Examples: BPM-suites, etc.

Functional platforms (configurable monoliths)

Origin: corporate functions automation
Typical characteristics: generic solutions have be configured for needs of a particular business
Typical provisioning: SaaS or PaaS or on-premises or hybrid
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS
Examples: ERP, CRM, ECM

Coordination platforms

Origin: portals
Typical characteristics: coordination between service consumers and service providers
Typical provisioning: IaaS or on-premises
Typical vendor: home-made
Examples: Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Alibaba, Paypal
Note: The owner of a coordination platform helps to match demand and supply without any ownership over supplied resources (Uber does not owe cars, Airbnb does not owe hotels, facebook does not generate any content), Alibaba does not produce consumer goods.
Note: Also called "Digital platform".

Business execution platforms

Origin: corporate functions automation
Typical characteristics: a coherent set of functionality sufficient to run business in a particular business domain as a set of solutions which are assembled from microservices.
Typical provisioning: hybrid or on-premises
Typical vendor: FOSS or COTS
Examples: salesforce
Note: Business execution platforms may be collected from previously mentioned platforms.

Corporate Unified Business Execution (CUBE) platforms

Origin: digital transformation, application portfolio rationalisation, application portfolio modernisation,  legacy ERP transformation, etc.
Typical characteristics: whole-enterprise-specific business execution platform
Typical provisioning: hybrid
Typical vendor: home-made
Example: http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2015/10/enterprise-patterns-peas-example-cube.html
Note: Corporate unified business execution platforms are collected from previously mentioned platforms.

Potential industry-sector synergy


Any corporate within the same industry-sector do, in principal, the same things but in slightly different way. If a corporate unified business execution platform enables synergy between diversity and uniformity then the same platform may serve the whole industry-sector (public services, healthcare, smart-city, etc.).




Examples:
Thanks,
AS
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