Whether struggling with the resultant limitations of years of patchwork IT investments or experiencing the process impediments from scaling the business, the efficiency of many organizations’ software development lifecycles starts to atrophy. To stave this off, many organizations institute a pragmatic developer operations program. However, with the continued rising complexity of cloud infrastructure and services, the incorporation of developer productivity tools and modules, and the shortage of highly skilled full-stack engineers, DevOps can contribute towards the product and feature deployment bottlenecks it was tasked with preventing.

To overcome the increasing complexity of software development architecture, organizations are leveraging platform engineering to construct and operate internal developer platforms (IDP) to accelerate software development and manage the underlying infrastructure. An IDP is typically a self-service layer that enables developers to use automated workflows and toolsets to navigate complex and siloed systems better while improving delivery speed, end-user experience, and the product’s business value. 

The value and productivity enhancements platform engineering generates aren’t only limited to developers, as other functional areas, such as data scientists and quality assurance, can utilize a well-structured and maintained platform to help automate their work processes.

Fundamental Principles of Platform Engineering

The Platform is a Product 

The creation and maintenance of the platform by the platform engineering team should be approached as an exercise in product management. The platform should not turn into an on-demand service where bespoke environments and on-off solutions are created by the platform engineering team in a labor-intensive process with variable timelines. Instead, it should provide an easily consumable and reliable experience for the end users. The platform engineering team needs to identify the tools, capabilities, and features that would deliver the most value to the platform’s users and establish regular feedback loops to ensure that the platform continues to drive efficiencies.

Address Common Issues

The efforts of the platform engineering team should focus on solving the commonly occurring issues and problems that cause frustrations and inefficiencies within the target end-user base. As a shared service, the platform should eliminate redundant workstreams within a department and empower its users to focus their efforts towards endeavors that generate greater business value. Establishing a real, achievable, and measurable mission for the platform from the onset is instrumental in alleviating common pain points.

Platforms are Expensive

Constructing and institutionalizing an effective internal platform is a costly endeavor that may take years to realize a significant ROI. The process improvements and productivity enhancements that result from the self-service automation of common workflows can boost both speed to market and the workplace satisfaction of your valuable software engineering talent. Platform engineering teams provide a valuable service by removing friction from developmental lifecycles and helping to improve the knowledge base and skill set of existing staff.

Benefits of Platform Engineering

Functional Alignment

An internal platform enables organizations to explicitly define the types of infrastructure, systems, and applications that are supported. With the platform engineering teams curating a set of easily consumable, configurable, and reusable workflows and services, developers will consistently ship high-quality products and patches that are harmonious with the organization’s technology stack and ecosystem. 

Developer Autonomy

Internal platforms, like IDPs, construct highways for developers, containing both guidelines for how to best deploy services and applications and guardrails that enforce strict rules, such as security and compliance standards. Platforms eliminate ticketing systems and provide developers with the self-service workflows required to create and update business logic and applications. With an IDP, senior and experienced members of development teams no longer have to spend their valuable time guiding more junior members through some of the complicated processes of the services on which their workflows depend.

Increased Efficiency

By enabling developers with a self-service of workflows and toolsets, internal platforms automate many time-consuming tasks, thus boosting developer efficiency. By liberating users from having to build their own developmental environments and by automating development operations, platforms help to remove process friction, eliminate steps during review cycles, and enable developers to become more agile so they can ship completed code faster. 

Taos Platform Engineering Services

While platform engineering is poised for large-scale adoption within the software development industry, the current IT team at many organizations rarely has the requisite knowledge and skillset to successfully build and operate an internal platform. Taos’ Platform Engineering Services helps organizations bridge that skill gap by establishing platform programs that align current and future infrastructure and ecosystems with overarching business drivers.

Taos, an IBM company, has enabled dynamic platform engineering programs for thousands of customers over the years. By providing the underlying cloud infrastructure and service foundation, Taos constructs and maintains a superhighway for your developers to build and ship applications and services. Taos designed platform engineering programs create resilient and scalable infrastructure, streamline product deployment, and improve developer efficiencies and user experience.

Learn more about Taos Platform Engineering Services.