The industry has come a long way from the 1st Platform, better known as the mainframe and terminal Era, and the 2nd Platform consisting of the client/server and internet/LAN which dominated the IT landscape from ~ 1985 to ~ 2005. The transition between the first two platforms greatly increased the number of users, devices and applications that are in existence. The transition that we are seeing today is to the 3rd Platform.
This next generation platform is built on mobile computing, social networking, cloud services, and Big Data analytics technologies and will expand its reach to billions of users and devices as new applications are developed daily to leverage the new information, new business techniques and new methods of interaction. The 3rd Platform is not a product or a solution; it is a concept that is trying to combine many new technology trends and, not unlike previous concepts like Adaptive Architecture (AA) or Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), the 3rd Platform cannot be physically deployed. One of the key value proposition of the 3rd Platform is the desire to provide easier and seamless information access by constantly degrease “business user -> application -> data” latency, whilst retaining and delivering the SLA and KPI’s of the business service.
The desire for achieving this is driven by a never ending drive to user centricity as well as by the ever increasing amount of data that is been consumed by users. IBM reports that “90% of the data in the world today was created within the last 2 years”; intel issued a view that we will see “15 billion connected devices & over 3 billion connected users by 2015” – and the list / statements / snippets are endless. And many areas will be affected – like Application construction and consumption – but also in the Data Centre area.
Here the concept of the 3rd Platform will drive (and document) key technology aspects like:
- Hybrid Cloud
- Infrastructure Cloud and related orchestration
- Software defined Networks (SDN), Software defined Storage (SDS) and
- Service Integration (SI)
- Cyber Security
To date there is no common “definition” of what exactly the 3rd Platform is. Gartner refers to “the convergence and mutual reinforcement of four independent trends; social interaction, mobility, cloud and information” as a “nexus of forces” that “is transforming the way people and businesses relate to technology” .
IDC talks about “the 3rd Platform for IT growth and innovation, built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies, and big data” . As per  IDC predicts: “As we noted previously, the 3rd Platform will drive about 90% of the over $1.5 trillion in IT market growth in the next eight years. The 78% of today’s IT market that’s built on 2nd Platform technologies will see steadily declining growth — below even worldwide GDP growth rates over just the next several years.”
“The Open Platform 3.0 initiative” of “The Open Group” aims to produce a consensus definition of the third platform, and identify open standards for it, to help enterprises gain business benefit from these technologies.
For Capgemini the 3rd Platform is a key blueprint as well as an integral component. In TechnoVision 2015 (see ), we see that “the best things happen outside. And not only outside the organization, where co-creation powered by the crowd is already bringing new business value every day and platforms are ‘eating the world’. Now it is time for the IT department to unleash the same energy to the own organization. A compelling digital platform – featuring APIs, open datasets, service catalogues, integration, frameworks, solutions guidance, tools and collaboration support – will enable business units to quickly create their own, market-focused solutions while leveraging enterprise grade information and services. It provides the best of both worlds, being at different speeds, aiming to ‘let it be’ for the best digital results.”
Part 3 will focus on the new 3rd Platform driven trend: hybrid cloud.
Thanks for reading.
 The Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information, http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/nexus-of-forces/
 IDC Predictions 2013: Competing on the 3rd Platform, http://www.idc.com/research/Predictions13/downloadable/238044.pdf
 Open Platform 3.0 Business Scenario: The Open Group, 2013, https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/K130
 TechnoVision 2015, Capgemini, http://www.capgemini.com/blog/cto-blog/2014/11/welcome-to-technovision-2015