When should you adopt Platform Engineering?

If you’ve not been living under a rock for the last year and a half, chances are you’ve heard of Platform Engineering. The latest industry trend promises to do everything DevOps tried to do and failed, yet again: lighten your devs’ workload, improve DevX, skyrocket operational efficiency, and turn your projects into rivers of gold. 

In truth, Platform Engineering continues the process DevOps started. With PE, leaders have an actionable plan to build toolchains and workflows that empower developers of any skill level with self-service capabilities. It’s an all-round solution that not only improves devs’ autonomy and collaboration, but also enhances resource management, and provides ecosystem and plug-in integration. 

You see why it’s an extremely attractive proposition for IT departments - and a very daunting undertaking. After all, it takes nearly 3 years and 20 dedicated specialists to start seeing tangible results. And yet, Gartner predicts that by 2026, 80% of IT departments will adopt internal platform engineering teams. 

Obviously, you don’t want to be left behind, but does this mean you should join the race now? When should you adopt Platform Engineering?

Let's look at the factors that mean your organization needs to consider platform engineering seriously.

What's the urgency?

2026 is looming closer than you may think, and the industry is gearing up to future-proof its operations against efficiency, sustainability, and talent setbacks. There are 3 main reasons why future-thinking organisations are moving towards an internal engineering platform now, and not tomorrow.

  • Keep top talent

Great talent - DevOps, software and platform engineers, Solution Architects - want to innovate and solve challenges with cutting-edge technology, instead of wasting time troubleshooting legacy systems. Platform engineering streamlines complex tasks and abstracts the nuts and bolts underneath dev tools into a lovely user-friendly UI. Companies that adopt platform engineering strategies tend to attract and keep the top talent. Delaying will risk you losing them to the competition.

  • Maximum efficiency

An engineering platform takes care of the boring work nobody wants to do and minimizes human error in tasks that can be automated. This helps you shed unnecessary technical debt and move forward lighter, leaner, and faster, empowering your brilliant team to do their best work. We like to think of the fusion between your people and platform engineering as a warp engine, aiding your organisation to boldly go where no man has gone before.

  • Save resources

The planet cannot wait! IT plays a huge role in our overall environmental impact - haven’t you got the memo? Carbon emissions from global cloud usage have exceeded those of commercial aviation in 2023. Not to mention it’s a huge drain on your organisation’s own resources. Platform engineering helps you keep an eye on your cloud usage, slashing unused resources and preventing budget overruns where needed. This means a lighter load on Earth and cost savings as a nice bonus!


When should you adopt Platform Engineering?

Short answer - it depends. Long answer - it depends on the level of the scale of your projects. 

When your organization or project reaches a certain level of complexity, it will inevitably warrant a dedicated platform to support your applications, services, or products. Here are some factors to consider when determining if it's time to invest in platform engineering:

  • Scaling challenges: 

Are you experiencing difficulties in scaling your applications or services to meet growing demand? That might be a sign that you need a platform that can provide the necessary infrastructure and tools to support scalability. An engineering platform can help you rev up when you need it.

  • Repetitive tasks:

Here’s what no dev or DevOps wants to do: repeatedly solve the same 3 problems or implement the same 3 features across multiple projects. It’s a huge waste not only of your team’s creativity but your organization’s resources. A platform can help standardize these processes and improve efficiency, eliminating repetitive tasks and human error.

  • Diverse workloads:

Stop duplicating infrastructures! When your organization has applications with different requirements, the amount of environments can quickly become messy and unmanageable. Platform engineering provides a common infrastructure and set of tools that can be shared across teams, reducing duplication of effort.

  • Collaboration needs:

As your team grows, your projects and products multiply, which means there’s a real danger of siloes (and we hate siloes with a passion) and a real need for collaboration. A platform  - think shared repositories, version control, and code reviews - will make sure all your applications are running smoothly and your teams bond over work well done together.

  • Maintainability and stability: 

Picture this: your DevOps team are constantly putting out fires and struggling to maintain the system, while your clients bemoan your apps’ continuous crashing. Nightmare, isn’t it? Now, if that is your reality, this is your sign to adopt a platform. Platform Engineering can help streamline operations, automate tasks, and improve overall reliability.

  • Cost optimization: 

As your projects grow, resource usage across various cloud platforms grows with it. Without oversight, it can easily get out of hand. Building a platform can help optimize costs by standardizing infrastructure, improving resource utilization, and enabling better resource allocation based on usage patterns (and help save the planet too!)

  • Security and compliance: 

Meeting security and compliance standards is tricky business, but the worst part is that it’s prone to user error. If your applications need to adhere to specific security or compliance requirements, a platform can provide the necessary security features and controls to ensure all the right locks are in place across your organization.

  • Future growth:

At the end of the day, platform engineering is all about future-proofing your business. Getting rid of legacy infra, industrializing manual deployments, or any growth in terms of users, data, or features - a platform can help you scale.  

  • ESG strategy:

If your organization is big on ESG goals but needs tech solutions that can grow with it, a platform will help shrink your environmental footprint, keep data safe, and use AI responsibly. Remember, by 2026 all organisations operating in Europe will need to report on their environmental impact. Why wait until then if you can tackle ESG now?


Which industries must implement Platform Engineering first?

Your industry may be the deciding factor in whether to adopt an internal engineering platform or not. The seasoned veterans, sporting legacy infrastructures, such as Banking, Insurance, Healthcare, Logistics, and Manufacturing, may be the first on the cutting block. These “oldies” are in full-on survival mode, revamping their systems through phased migration strategies and leveraging hybrid cloud solutions. Platform engineering for these industries is all about modernization, a jumpstart to keep them walking in line with the growing digital demands. As such, a platform can help to implement microservices architectures for agility and prioritise security and compliance measures. 

In contrast, you've got the up-and-comers: software development and FinTech. These folks are all about starting from scratch and building something truly groundbreaking. Platform engineering helps to build cloud-native solutions with DevOps practices for rapid iteration.  Containerization and serverless technologies will ensure scalability. And, by integrating AI/ML for enhanced insights and automation, you can maintain a strong focus on agility and innovation.

Don’t panic - trust your instinct

Embarking on platform engineering is akin to building Rome - it takes time and patience. If you’ve seen your use case in this blog, there's no need to fret. With the ongoing trend and investments in developing best practices and solutions, you're sure to accelerate your delivery process. 

Remember, there are varying levels of platform engineering to suit your specific needs. Whether you're starting with a simple self-service portal or delving into the broader ecosystem, there's a solution tailored for you. For more insights, be sure to explore our eBook on this topic. 

And if you think the time is now, visit Why now, not tomorrow? | Adopt Platform Engineering

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