The State of Play
by Jon Collins and Martin Atherton
The principle of application platforms is clear, particularly in these times
Research study respondents agree that it makes sense to consider application platforms as a
logical evolution of how IT in general, and software in particular, is commoditising. Such an
approach is particularly relevant given the current emphasis on driving more efficient delivery of IT.
The current state of play is portrayed by what’s seen as central to the platform
While certain elements are seen as clear components of the application platform today, others are
less so – which is an indication of where the ‘water mark’ of such platforms lies. At the core lies the
application server, with security and identity management features also seen as critical. Meanwhile,
though certain capabilities (such as workflow and service orchestration) may be seen as valid
elements in principle, they are not yet seeing widespread adoption in practice.
The main benefits revolve around efficient application and service delivery, through reuse
Businesses are looking to their IT departments to be responsive to their needs. Organisations that
have adopted application platforms are finding themselves in a stronger position to provide more
efficient application integration and delivery, which in turn has a positive impact on responsiveness.
This is true for organisations that have formally adopted vendor platforms as well as those who
have adopted a set of capabilities on a less formal basis.
However, the practice of deploying such a foundation is harder
The task of implementing application platforms can be onerous, particularly in IT environments that
already support a diverse set of applications (which applies to most). Another significant challenge
is carving out sufficient time and resource to define and deploy a platform, given that in IT, time is
always at a premium.
To get started, consider if needless diversity and redundancy exists in your infrastructure
The current focus on application platforms serves as a timely prompt to step back and consider how
much unnecessary diversity and redundancy exists in the infrastructure of many organisations.
Practical steps forward for individual organisations will depend on where they are today, for
example whether they already engage in a high degree of ‘informal’ component sharing or reuse, or
are just starting to consider consolidation and streamlining of their application infrastructure.