In a technology context, the term ‘platform’ has entered the common lexicon to describe an IT infrastructure that is not merely a collection of components, but is designed to allow other more specialized applications to be stacked on top. This is a marked departure from the closed suite mentality that was once typical of IT architectures and the business models they supported.
Platform businesses are transforming the economy, and it’s no exaggeration to say that this transformation is largely driven by platforms. The traditional linear business model creates value through products and services that it pushes to market, but platforms build value through the means of connection and exchange. They facilitate a massive array of buyer-seller and consumer-to-consumer transactions, and they do so on a global scale that is literally impossible to match through a brick-and-mortar approach.
The IT architecture that supports a platform is typically an API-first platform, and it will be built to facilitate a wide range of integrations. This approach enables seemingly small changes in demand on any side of the marketplace to be amplified through a coordinated response across all sides. The broader the ecosystem that a platform connects to, the more a multi-sided business can leverage it.
Application-specific technologies also can play a role in a platform, particularly when those applications are used for a variety of functions within a business. For example, database software like Structured Query Language (SQL) is frequently used to support systems for monitoring and logging, customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning. platform