The third platform takes over

Disruption. It’s a word that is often used these days. […]

June 6, 2013

Disruption. It’s a word that is often used these days. Perhaps a bit too often but, on the other hand, there’s a number of trends that are truly disruptive for the IT industry as we know it. And the question is: what IT companies have the staying power to survive all of these changes?

Mobile, cloud, big data, social. These are the four buzzwords that neatly sum up the challenges that face IT vendors and IT departments alike. Users are increasingly using mobile devices to consult both the Internet and business data. This means we need to deliver applications in a completely different way. That’s where cloud computing comes in.
Social media are changing the way consumers are communicating among each other and how brands are interacting with their customers. This is turning the marketing world upside down. Big data is a fourth trend, taking advantage of all the data that is being created by people and by devices.

Consultancy firm IDC uses the term ?

The third platform’ for the convergence of these disruptive trends. According to IDC, the new reality of the IT industry is built on mobile devices and apps, cloud services, mobile broadband networks, big data analytics and social technologies. In this theory of IDC, the first platform consisted of mainframes and minicomputers, with thousands of applications and millions of users. The second platform is the PC platform, where hundreds of millions of users were empowered by tens of thousands apps. On today’s third platform, the growth is exponential, to billions of users and millions of apps.

What does this have to do with the way you operate your IT department?

I think the third platform plays on two different levels for you. For starters, the IT architecture of most companies will have to move to the third platform, to cater to the needs of these billions of users and their mobile devices. Most companies, however, are firmly rooted on the second platform, and many of them are even still hanging on to the first platform. Companies will have to start moving their architecture onto the third platform. A challenging task, that will not be undertaken overnight. This will be a journey that takes time, and may be painful from time to time.

But there’s a second element that comes into play. For vendors too, the journey to the third platform will be no small task. Just consider: how many big brands do you remember from the first platform? Both hard- and software. And how many of these historical names are still around? Just as there was a shakeout between the first and the second platform, a new survival of the fittest will take place between the second and the third platform. Old household names will disappear. And new names will surface and rise to prominence.

For sure, we do live in interesting times. At EMC, we are quite confident that we are ready to meet the challenges of the third platform. The products and services from EMC, VMware, Pivotal and RSA are all providing solutions to the needs of the third platform and, between them, they offer customers a wide array of choices to address their own challenges.

By Alain Sohet, Country Manager Belgium & Luxembourg @EMC


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