What is a Platform and How Important Is It?
In architecture, a platform is a raised, level surface on which people or things can stand. In politics, it’s the policy positions or stances taken on issues. But in the world of IT, it’s known as a group of technologies used as a base upon which other applications, processes, or technologies are developed.
For any company considering enterprise modernization and digital transformation efforts, building a solid platform is the core foundation of your company’s ability to realize new and better business outcomes. And whether you know it now or not, your platform needs to involve the cloud.
How Much Cloud, Really?
There is a lot of buzz around companies migrating everything to the cloud. But according to a 2017 Forrester survey, 74% of companies describe their strategy as a hybrid approach—the combination of on-prem and cloud. Is this approach a viable long-term solution to achieve the results business want, though?
Anyone wondering how real hybrid cloud is in the market had their question answered with the announcement of IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat on October 28th. In possibly the third-largest tech acquisition in history, not only is IBM saying hybrid cloud is very much alive; they believe it is the way most companies will be approaching their enterprise IT strategy.
Let’s look at what companies considering modernization and transformation need to do to understand how important this announcement can impact them.
Modernizing Your Business
Many organizations are still looking at their enterprise modernization strategy in a silo. But to truly modernize and transform the business, a holistic approach is needed, and it must leverage the cloud.
80% of critical enterprise applications are still sitting on-premise and need to be modernized. For a large company, that could be thousands of applications, which gives me a headache just thinking about all the moving parts.
My mom always told me that anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time. There are many steps that an organization will take to launch this endeavor, but I think the first couple set you up for success or failure.
The first step seems like common sense but is oftentimes rushed or completely overlooked: going through a complete rationalization effort. Before moving to the next step of selecting the right platform (which is possibly the most important step), there are a few core questions that must be answered:
- What are your core business applications and who owns them?
- How are these applications used and are any of them redundant?
- What is the lifecycle of each application?
- What is the business value of each application along with its quality and costs?
As these questions are answered, it then becomes much easier to create a framework that identifies the core elements of each application (technology, data interfaces, users, business capability, etc.). From this exercise, the business must decide what applications are truly critical, which ones can be retired or merged, and which ones can be slated for modernization or re-written as a cloud-native application.
While rationalization is an ongoing effort, now it’s time to make some significant decisions— selecting the right platform to become your enterprise platform. This decision is critical to your success.
As I mentioned earlier, this cannot be made in a silo. Your new platform must be flexible and eliminate unnecessary costs, reduce risk, and provide the business a real, rapid, and measurable value.
This platform must provide a robust portfolio of products and services that include developer tools, security (application, identity and access, and data), application services, data services, and operations tools (deploying, scaling, monitoring, storage, network) for existing modernized and cloud-native developed applications.
Additionally, all cloud vendors want to make it easy for you to deliver innovation in your modernized applications—contributing value-adding platform services in areas like AI, data sciences, and blockchain. It’s not hard to imagine that these rich hybrid cloud platforms are where the truly innovative business applications of tomorrow will be developed and delivered.
Enter IBM’s Acquisition of Red Hat
How does the IBM-Red Hat announcement play into a company’s modernization efforts? In short, in a very big and positive way. The merger of the IBM and Red Hat will provide customers with the industry’s most powerful hybrid cloud platform, giving organizations a single enterprise solution that can help clients:
- Create cloud-native applications faster.
- Modernize existing applications leveraging the power of open source.
- Drive greater portability and security of data and applications across multiple public and private clouds.
- Achieve consistent cloud management.
This is a big deal. As companies consider how to move their IT platforms forward to get better business results, the IBM-Red Hat acquisition will quickly become a top consideration for these organizations.
No matter where you are on your digital transformation journey, Prolifics is uniquely positioned to help. Our deep industry and technical expertise make us the ideal solution provider for enterprises of any size. Let us know how we can help.
About the Author
Head of Sales, Digital Automation, and Cloud Solutions
Matt Garst leads sales for Digital Automation and Cloud Solutions for Prolifics. Matt has over 20 years of experience in sales in the information technology industry. Most recently, he was responsible for the IBM software business within the US Army and Missile Defense Agency.
Prior to his role at IBM, Matt was the Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Enterprise Information Management, where he led a sales team focused on software and professional services. Matt began his career as a soldier in the U.S. Army where he served six years in the Infantry.