The Third Platform, following on the heels of the Second Platform, and the First Platform before that, is the latest stage of the Information Technology (IT) revolution. According to Gartner, it is set to “transform the way people and businesses relate to technology.”
Before discussing the Third party Platform, it’s important to examine what came before it – the First and Second Platforms –because the journey of radical change is key to our understanding and expectations.
- The First Platform – mainframe computer, a massive centralised processor connected to a number of terminals –came into existence in the 1950s
- The Second Platform – alludes to the client-server system – a distributed system in which processing power is divided into personal computers (PCs) and central servers – emerged in the 1980’s
The Third Platform
The name “Third Platform” was coined by the International Data Corporation (IDC) in 2007 for a model of a computing platform. when it referred to the Third Platform service as the nexus of mobile computing, cloud computing, social media, big data analytics, and internet of things (IoT).
IDC has forecasted that the Third Platform will play an integral role in the business world, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, where it will become mainstream by 2020.
Further adding to the definition provided by IDC, the Economist points out that the 3rd Platform is the interaction between online cloud computing and a range of devices that generate an enormous amount of data. This data is then analysed using artificial intelligence and machine learning to grasp valuable insights.
Why Businesses will never succeed without the Third Platform?
1) Can’t keep up without the Third Platform solutions
The Third Platform consists of trillions of systems, electronics, devices, and sensors. It involves not only the users of apps or services that are interlinked to the devices but also anything with an IP address.
Social networking coupled with continually connected smart devices and a cloud-based server means that people have a greater online presence than ever and those businesses which do not accept this fact and adapt accordingly will not be able to either compete or keep up.
The point to note is that Third platform technologies solutions will predict problems, alert, suggest and even implement – in some cases – the solution, before the businesses will even register a problem exists.
Consider for example, sending an electrician to figure out exactly what is causing energy wastage in a building versus an automatic alert providing exact information about the burnt up wires in sector A, room B, slot C of that building.
The Third Platform offers speed, growth, results, innovation, adaptability and consolidation. Together, this will help make businesses -large and small – be more competitive, agile, effective and efficient.
Clearly, businesses need to think strategically about how to implement this platform.
2) You won’t be able to go fully mobile or leverage the cloud without the Third Platform
Given that cloud computing is one futuristic solution that offers agile businesses deployment, network virtualisation and safe, scalable and sustainable business operations, businesses worldwide have already started to embrace it.
This trend is set to increase; just last year Forbes highlighted that 83% of enterprises’ workloads would be interlinked to the cloud by next year.
Crucially, cloud data could be used to extract useful insights and formulate future strategies. Such big data analytics, could deliver higher productivity and soaring profits.
It’s safe to say then, that businesses that choose not to invest in Third platform solutions will not benefit from the multitude of advantages the cloud offers and could even be left stranded.
3) Consumer interaction will go downhill
Third platform services are structured in a way to boost connectivity. With hyper-competition and relatively similar service offerings, customer-centricity put front and centre will be one way that suppliers could gain genuine competitive advantage.
Given the rapid nature of business model development, embracing the Third Platform could be today’s game changing strategy. It tends to exceed customer expectations in a host of ways that include convenience, user-friendly access, speed of results and user-experience.
Making predictions, especially pertaining to the future of information technology is an arduous task. After all, the next big thing could come left field and transform our world.
Nonetheless, the Third Platform is here to stay, and it will- in this reviewer’s opinion at least- cause a seismic disruption that today is barely a blip in the big scheme of things. IDC points out that within the next two years, organizations with fully-functional and integrated third party solutions will grow from approximately 46% to a staggering 90%.
The question organizations should now be looking at is not whether they should embrace the Third Platform but rather how can they deploy a ‘SMART’ plan to incorporate the Third Platform and demonstrate clear ROI metrics.