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 creator: FOSS or COTS

Technological platforms

Origin: runtime libraries
Typical characteristics: technology encapsulation for applications
Typical provisioning: on-premises
Typical creator: 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 creator: 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, APaaS or on-premises
Typical creator: FOSS or COTS
Examples: BPM-suites, etc.

Functional platforms (configurable monoliths)

Origin: corporate functions automation
Typical characteristics: generic solutions have to be configured for needs of a particular business
Typical provisioning: SaaS or PaaS or on-premises or hybrid
Typical creator: FOSS or COTS
Examples: ERP, CRM, ECM
Note: Also called "Vendor platforms"

Intermediation platforms

Origin: portals
Typical characteristics: middleman between service consumers and service providers
Typical provisioning: IaaS or on-premises
Typical creator: home-made
Examples: Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Alibaba, Paypal
Note: The owner of an intermediation 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" or marketplace.

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 creator: 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 creator: 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.
Note: Also called "Digital business 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.).



Enterprise patterns: ADAGIO #entarch

This pattern summarises the essential capabilities to be delivered by enterprise architecture as a practice:
  • Architecture Design (AD)
  • Architecture Governance (AG)
  • Innovatives and Optimisation (IO)

Architecture Design or Delivery (AD) – do right things

Architecture Design defines (at the scale of an enterprise) how solutions to be designed, delivered, operated, monitored, evolved and decommissioned (covering of their full life-cycle). EA has to deliver an overall solution for the whole enterprise. It is possible only as a set of smaller ("normal") solutions. Thus EA must control/influence them.

See related blogposts:

Architecture Governance (AG) – do things right

Architecture Governance controls how all artefacts are managed through their life-cycles, individually and in various assembles.

See related blogposts:

Innovations and Optimisation (IO) – at the right time

Because it is not possible to anticipate everything, EA must be adjustable to quickly changing situation without losing the focus. 

A few related thoughts

Considering that, IT is only the enterprise-wide function which very critical right now (thanks for #digital) then EA must resolve firstly all the problems of IT.

Architecture Design (AD) is actually responsible for a design of transformation.

Innovative Optimisation (IO) primarily is about validating and executing the strategy.

At the same time, EA has no direct responsibility over IT and business. EA a system-thinking applied management discipline for coordinating people, processes, projects and products – see http://improving-bpm-systems.blogspot.ch/2014/12/yet-another-definition-of-enterprise.html


In ballet, adagio refers to slow movement, typically performed by a group of dancers with the greatest amount of grace and fluidity than other movements of dance.

Adagio in music (from Wikipedia):

True and heartfelt transfer Adagio is the touchstone of the art performance of each musician and singer. However, the Adagio is a clear indicator of the degree of true talent, a sign of the composer's talent, because the adagio (which are total internal consistency and richness of musical thought) exposes the talent and skill of the composer.

In acrobatics adagio is the performance of partner acrobalance poses and associated movements that involve stationary balances.



Synergy between #BPM, #digital, #IoT, #microservices and #blockchain

The following synergies will start to be implemented:
  • BPM and blockchain
  • BPM and microservices
  • BPM and IoT
  • BPM and digital
Below this prediction is in more details.

Each process instance becomes a self-secured on-demand personal solution which:
Note that each process instance may comprises of some other process instances (i.e. pools in BPMN) thus being a distributed process instance.

Thus, for each individual client it will be possible to have an individual process instance which is built in accordance with the customer's needs and behaviour and which is fully secured for this customer. (See my comment to http://bpm.com/bpm-today/in-the-forum/by-2017,-will-70-percent-of-successful-digital-business-models-rely-on-unstable-processes )

A real-life example – a stadium during a football match is full of fans. Each of them has his/her own needs and behaviour. Perfect peak performance case which can be economically reasonable only via on-demand provisioning of processes and microservices.

I think, healthcare could be another example.

Happy BPMing,