Benefits of Digital Platform Lead
Steve Smith
Steve Smith Head of Scale Service

Our Thinking Mon 23rd November, 2020

What are the benefits of a Digital Platform?

Embarking on building a Digital Platform can be a rewarding experience for your organisation. It will mean you can benefit from faster innovation, higher quality (with improved reliability), reduced costs, and happy people. But it’s no small undertaking.

So, before embarking on a project, it’s important to understand the benefits and assess whether they align with your digital strategy. Here we attempt to unpack and understand the main benefits of a Digital Platform, to help you come to a better understanding of whether it is right for you.

There are many benefits, so we have broken them down into the following sections. 

A Digital Platform allows faster innovation

  • Faster time to launch. Automating and abstracting cloud setup and simplifying governance processes means a new Digital Service can be launched to customers within days.
  • Frequent updates. Creating an optimal deployment pipeline allows customer experiments in a Digital Service to be updated on at least a daily basis.
  • Increased focus on business problems. Institutionalising new policies that cross-cut departments means uncoordinated and/or duplicated processes can be eliminated, and people can focus on higher-value work.
  • More business model opportunities. Friction-free, rapid launches of Digital Services allow an organisation to separate its differentiating business functions from utilities and to quickly trial different business models in new marketplaces.

It invariably provides a higher quality solution

  • Fewer environmental issues. Automating configuration and infrastructure lowers the potential for environment-specific problems.
  • More deterministic test results. Centralising automated test executors reduces opportunities for nondeterminism in test suites.
  • Faster rollback. Creating an effective rollback system with health checks means deployment failures can be fixed quickly.

You will benefit from increased reliability

  • More operable services. Providing logging, monitoring, and alerting out of the box increases the operability of Digital Services, and helps users to quickly discern abnormal operating conditions.
  • Graceful degradation. Implementing circuit breakers and bulkheads on the wire for third-party systems allows Digital Services to gracefully degrade on failure.
  • Improved business continuity. Automating the entire platform infrastructure in the cloud creates new business continuity options.

Improved ways of working

  • Policy experimentation. Cutting across departments means new policies can be forged in inceptions, Chaos Day testing, secure delivery, and more. 
  • Drive new practices. Creating enabling constraints in user journeys can drive the adoption of new practices, such as restricting shared libraries to encourage decoupled domains for Digital Services.
  • Simpler processes. Establishing meaningful Service Level Objectives with an automated alerting toolchain can make You Build It You Run It production support easier to set up.

Take advantage of the most advanced technology

  • Use the best available technologies. Standardising cloud building blocks means the best available technology stack can be provided to Digital Service teams.
  • Traffic optimisations. Surfacing self-service, elastic infrastructure means Digital Service teams can easily optimise for fluctuating traffic patterns without significant costs.
  • Zero downtime updates. Consolidating service runtimes means functional updates can be continually applied with zero downtime for Digital Services.

Benefitting from reduced costs

  • Economies of scale. Centralising the Digital Service lifecycle means economies of scale can be achieved, as more Digital Service teams can be added without incurring repeat buy/build costs.
  • Easier cost management. Centralising self-service touchpoints for automated infrastructure allows infrastructure costs to be visualised and closely managed. 
  • Positioning security specialists in the Digital Platform teams means security threats can be more easily identified and Digital Services can quickly receive security updates. 

Ultimately you will have happier, more productive people

  • Lower cognitive load. Abstracting away the Digital Service lifecycle reduces your staff’s cognitive load, reducing lead times to less than 24 hours for a new joiner, a mover between teams, a leaver, or a new Digital Service team.
  • Easier to identify talent needs. Splitting business domains into Digital Services helps to highlight which domains are true business differentiators and require the most talented engineers.
  • Increased talent attractors. Using the latest cloud technology on Digital Platform and Digital Service teams will encourage talented engineers to join your organisation.
  • More recruitment options. Concentrating specialist skills in Digital Platform teams means recruitment efforts for Digital Service teams can focus on onshore/offshore developers, testers, etc. without requiring more costly, specialised cloud skills.

Contact us! 

We hope you find this useful. For more information about Digital Platforms take a look at our Digital Platform Playbook. We thrive on feedback and welcome contributions.   As you can see, we love building digital platforms!  If you’d like us to share our experience with you, get in touch in the form below.