Platform engineering: trend in 2023 to deal with I&O complexity

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IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) scenarios often look like a jigsaw puzzle, with countless pieces that need to fit together. In 2023, the increasing complexity of these environments will further challenge teams in purchasing, deploying and subsequently managing technology solutions. According to Gartner, I&O leaders are asked to approach skills, roles, and career management differently.

In an attempt to help put this puzzle together, Gartner pointed out the main trends that should impact the I&O universe in 2023. One of them has to do with the concept of platform engineering, that is, the joining of management tools and technological components of the infrastructure, such as application resource management (ARM), application performance monitoring (APM), digital experience monitoring (DEM) and digital platform driving tools (DPC).

Simply put, platform engineering is an approach that can help maintain IT Infrastructures and Operations more efficiently to accelerate application delivery and the pace at which they generate more value for the business. Those who ride this wave should see improved developer experience and productivity with self-service features and automated operations. According to Gartner, platform engineering is rising because it promises optimization, agility, speed, efficiency and security, and higher levels of I&O compliance.

“Platform engineering has emerged in response to the increasing complexity of most modern software architectures. Today, unskilled users are often asked to use a set of complicated services. Forward-thinking companies have begun building operational platforms that stand between end users and the support services they depend on,” says Paul Delory, vice president of analytics at Gartner.

It is expected that by 2026, 80% of software engineering organizations will establish platform teams as internal providers of reusable services, components, and tools for application delivery. Platform engineering should ultimately solve the problem of cooperation between developers and software operators.

In general, platform engineering should be developed and maintained by a dedicated team, capable of meeting the demands of software developers and other classes of users, such as data scientists, for instance. This team should provide tools and interface to act on complex infrastructures.

Initial efforts usually start with internal developer portals, with a set of tools, resources and processes selected by experts and packaged for easy consumption, not forgetting that the platform should increase developer productivity by including everything that development teams need, presented in a way that best suits the workflow.

Other trends

In addition to platform engineering, Gartner has listed other trends in I&O for 2023. They are:

  • Sustainable technologies: Encompassing sustainable IT, this trend involves four main aspects: environmental, social, governance (ESG) and economical. According to Gartner, 87% of business leaders are expected to increase sustainability investments in the next two years. And I&O should adopt sustainable technologies to support organizations’ ESG goals. “From improving data centre sustainability to adopting the circular economy for IT, I&O can contribute by raising the efficiency and performance of infrastructure assets,” explains Jeffrey Hewitt, research vice president at Gartner.

  • Wireless innovation: I&O can use various wireless technologies to extend business opportunities beyond connectivity. Overlap between various technologies such as WiFi, 5G, Bluetooth and high frequency media can create chances for innovation, making networks a strategic innovation platform.

  • SASE: Secure Access Service Edge connects and secures users, devices, and locations so that users can access applications from anywhere. Gartner predicts that worldwide end-user spending on SASE will reach $9.2 billion in 2023, up 39% from 2022. “Hybrid working and cloud computing have accelerated SASE adoption. I&O teams thinking about implementing SASE solutions should prioritize a single vendor and an integrated approach,” recommends Hewitt.

  • Industry Cloud Platforms: Industry clouds are an alternative for companies seeking an integrated solution that can meet the specific demands of a given vertical segment. According to Gartner, by 2027, more than 50 percent of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms to accelerate business initiatives.

  • Heated search for talent: There is a growing demand for skills in I&O departments. However, available talent is limited for areas such as cloud, automation and advanced analytics. In addition, some companies are creating I&O positions within business units, increasing competition.

“While the competition for new skills creates more career opportunities for I&O leaders, it can also make talent gaps in an organization more expensive to fill and create challenges for retaining employees. I&O leaders should adopt more sophisticated thinking about the value proposition of their teams. They should consider tools to identify future skill requirements and new training approaches to enrich the skills of current employees to reduce the risk of them moving to other business units or competitors,” says Hewitt.

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