Digital Platform Success and Event Architecture

7 Jan 2021 8:48am, by

Organizations are twice as likely to have a successful digital platform if event-driven architecture (EDA) is used to build that platform. Based on a survey of 200 IT leaders conducted half a year ago, the “Gartner 2020 Building Digital Platforms Study” identified the digital platforms’ goals (e.g., efficiency, business growth) and respondents rated success based on these criteria. Overall, 67% of IT leaders with a highly successful digital platform utilize EDA. Among the remaining three-quarters of the study, only 28% utilize EDA in their platforms.

Does event-driven architecture by itself make a platform more successful? Probably not, but it is a better indicator that modern software design approaches are being used than say cloud native and agile/DevOps, both of which have become prerequisites. Although streaming data usually utilizes EDA it just describes a narrow type of technology implementation rather than an approach that can produce business value. Terms like microservices and serverless were not included in the survey question, but they have been tainted by marketing hype. For now, “event-driven architecture” appears to be a good indicator that modern software engineering practices are being utilized.

For more context, read “How to Help Software Engineering Teams Modernize Their Application Architecture Skills” by Mark O’Neill and Anne Thomas (behind a paywall).

Digital technology platforms are a broad category that describes a set of services and capabilities brought together to create applications, apps and workflows. They are usually are not sold as a single unit by an outside vendor but may compete with offerings that bill themselves as PaaS, especially those that claim to have a niche use case. One such specialty is multi-experience development experience platforms (MXDPs), which centralize development activities to ensure consistent user experience across web, mobile, wearable, conversational and immersive touchpoints. Although we are skeptical of newly coined names for technology markets, this caught our eye because low code vendors such as OutSystems and Mendix are positioning products into this space. The value-proposition for developers is that they become more efficient if they can reduce the number of tools used.

Adoption of platforms is still not universal, with 63% of respondent organizations in the “2020 State of DevOps Report” using self-service platforms used to build and deliver applications or service. If there is one platform, there are probably many. Of companies with a platform, half have at least four. The report also found that as a company’s DevOps maturity gradually rises, so does the likelihood it treats the platform like a product itself. When this occurs, a platform team becomes accountable and success becomes more likely.

Feature image Lucio Alfonsi de Pixabay