Digital platform engineering services is a term used to describe the modernization of enterprise software delivery, particularly for digital transformation. It involves creating and maintaining an engineering platform that supports software developers and others by providing common, reusable tools and capabilities and interfacing with complex infrastructure. In addition, platform engineers provide an integrated product, typically called an “internal developer platform,” that covers the operational necessities of an application’s entire lifecycle.
The field of digital platform engineering services is rapidly growing with a constantly evolving ecosystem of tools and trends. Infrastructure such as code, DevOps, microservices, and cloud-native computing are some of the important trends included in this field. The goal of digital platform engineering services is to support faster delivery of software, improved innovation, and enhanced collaboration among teams by providing standardized and automated processes for building, testing, and deploying software.
According to a report from Statista, global spending on digital transformation is estimated to hit 3.4 trillion USD by 2026. The report also mentioned that Denmark is currently the country with the highest digital competitiveness ranking.
How do digital platform engineering services work?
Digital platform engineering services is an approach to software development that involves creating and maintaining a dedicated product team responsible for designing and building a platform to support the needs of software developers and other stakeholders. This approach seeks to modernize enterprise software delivery by providing a flexible, scalable, and secure platform supporting various applications and services.
One of the key features of digital platform engineering is treating the platform as a product and designing it to be consumed in a self-service manner. This means the platform is designed to be easy to use, with reusable and standardized tools and services that can be accessed through APIs and other interfaces. As a result, developers can access the platform and its tools without going through a central team, saving time and effort and allowing them to focus on building applications.
Another important aspect of digital platform engineering services is using Agile and DevOps methodologies to manage platform development and delivery. The agile methodology involves breaking down a project into smaller, manageable chunks and iterating on them to continuously improve the platform. The DevOps methodology focuses on collaboration and communication between development and operations teams to ensure the platform is delivered quickly and reliably.
By 2026, Gartner predicts that 80% of software engineering organizations will create platform teams as in-house sources of reusable services, components, and tools for delivering applications.
Why are digital platform engineering services important?
Here are the main advantages of digital platform engineering, elaborated:
- Modernizing enterprise software delivery: Digital platform engineering helps businesses modernize their software delivery methods, which is essential for digital transformation. It provides tools and capabilities that are reusable and customizable to meet specific needs. This helps streamline the software development process and speed up delivery time, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.
- Creating dedicated engineering platforms: With digital platform engineering services, businesses can develop and maintain a specialized engineering platform that caters to the requirements of software developers and others. This means developers can access the necessary tools and infrastructure to build software more efficiently. The platform provides a centralized location for code repositories, tools, and other resources, allowing developers to focus on developing software and not setting up infrastructure.
- Achieving network effects: One of the most significant advantages of digital platform engineering is its potential to create network effects. By bringing together market participants, the platform can create markets and ecosystems that become more effective over time. As more clients attract more vendors and partners, the platform’s momentum increases, making it more effective. This can lead to increased revenue and market share for businesses.
Digital platform engineering provides businesses with the tools and infrastructure to modernize their software delivery methods, build specialized engineering platforms, and achieve network effects.
The State of DevOps report for 2023 revealed that adopting Platform Engineering resulted in positive outcomes for most enterprises. Specifically, 60% experienced better system reliability, 59% reported increased productivity and efficiency, and 57% saw improved workflow standards. Additionally, 42% of organizations reported reduced development time after implementing Platform Engineering.
How to Create a Digital Platform Strategy?
To create a successful digital platform strategy, companies need to consider several key elements:
- Start with strategy formulation: To start creating a digital platform strategy, companies need to clearly understand their overall goals and how a platform can help achieve them. Before launching a digital platform, companies should define the purpose of the platform and how it aligns with their broader mission and objectives. This includes identifying how a digital platform can help the company achieve its goals and improve its performance in line with its mission and objectives.
- Redesign your business model: Companies should re-examine and modify it as a digital platform may need a different approach. This could require reevaluating how the company generates income, interacts with customers, and manages resources.
- Develop necessary capabilities: Companies must possess specific skills and expertise. Thus, they must develop such capabilities in-house or establish partnerships to achieve their goals. Companies can attain these capabilities by recruiting new employees, training their existing staff, or collaborating with other businesses to benefit from their experience and expertise.
- Create an operating model: A well-defined one is crucial for effectively managing a digital platform. This requires outlining the processes and structures involved in scaling and managing the platform, including decision-making, governance, and performance metrics. Ensuring that the operating model is aligned with the platform’s objectives and goals is important.
Companies must acquire a broad range of resources to build and manage a digital platform, including talent, technology, and processes. These resources may be obtained through hiring or partnerships with other companies. This may require investing in new technologies or software, hiring more staff, or collaborating with others to access their resources.
Companies must see digital platform engineering services as more than just a shared service. Instead, they should aim to create platforms that generate constant value and enable teams to change what and how they deliver. This means adopting an innovative and adaptable approach to platform management, leveraging data and analytics to continuously improve performance and customer value.
While creating your own platform can be difficult in markets where global platforms are already established, having no platform strategy can be risky in a world where “platforms beat products.” Thus, companies must develop a clear digital platform strategy, and partnering with a trusted provider like STL Digital can greatly facilitate this process. As a leader in IT solutions and services, STL Digital offers expertise in helping businesses develop and implement effective digital platform strategies. By leveraging STL Digital’s extensive knowledge and experience, companies can navigate the complexities of the digital economy and remain competitive in an increasingly platform-driven market.
1. What is the job of a digital platform engineer?
A digital platform engineer’s responsibilities include the following:
- Designing and maintaining all desktop and appointment activities.
- Assisting with template installation.
- Preparing scripts for software development.
- Managing and preparing reports for automated process deployment.
- Creating reports to present to management.
2. Is digital platform engineering taking over DevOps?
Digital platform engineering is frequently adopted following a DevOps implementation. As a result, some may mistake platform engineering for a replacement for DevOps, but that is only partially accurate.
3. What is meant by an API-first approach strategy?
An API-first approach strategy refers to a development approach focusing on building APIs as discrete products rather than simply integrating them within other systems. The aim is to create a set of interoperable APIs that can be combined to form an API platform to promote innovation.
4. Do digital platform engineers perform coding, and if so, what programming languages do they need to know?