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  • Writer's pictureJohn Price

Modernization Paths – Do Platforms Count?

The term "platform" gets thrown around a lot these days, and it can be confusing. Is it just a savvy marketing exercise? Here's a breakdown to help clarify how platforms can be a legitimate path for modernization, while some rebranded suites might not deliver the full benefits you seek.  

Software platforms and software suites are both sets of software tools used to accomplish tasks, but they differ significantly in their architecture and approach. Think of a software suite as a pre-packaged set of kitchen utensils and tools. You have the basics - spatulas, ladles, whisks, tongs, slotted spoons, and all those specialty gadgets rarely used. They all match, and you know they go together. A platform, on the other hand, would provide the core, basic utensils, and from that, you can add new tools as you need them, based on the cooking tasks you do.  

Platforms vs Rebranded Suites: 

A modernization platform offers an open architecture, and development tools, and enables customization and integration with other environments. Look for these features: 

  • Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces): This allows developers to easily integrate the platform with other applications and services, creating a more flexible and extensible system. 

  • Development tools: The platform provides tools and resources to help developers create custom applications and functionalities. 

  • Innovation focus: Platforms are constantly evolving with new features and capabilities. 

Rebranded Suites are often traditional software suites or applications cobbled together, and sometimes branded as a platform – adding to the confusion. They may offer some improvements, but often lack the key characteristics of a true platform: 

  • Closed Ecosystems. Self-contained collections of integrated applications designed to work together. They may use proprietary technologies and data formats, making it difficult to extend or customize them.  

  • Limited Integration. These suites may integrate with a limited number of other applications, making it difficult to connect them with your existing ecosystem. 

  • Focus on Vendor Lock-In. The vendor may prioritize locking you into their suite rather than offering open and flexible solutions. 

 Understanding the difference between platforms and rebranded suites helps you make an informed decision about whether a platform is the right modernization path for your organization. Platforms offer some compelling benefits such as streamlined workflows, reduced complexity, and consolidated functionality with integration and development tools. Some suites are evolving to offer more openness and integration capabilities. However, understanding the core principles of platforms and suites will help you make informed decisions when choosing software solutions for your needs. 

To find your right path, look beyond the marketing hype. Don't be fooled by a rebranded suite or collection of applications, simply labeled a "platform." Investigate the features and capabilities and see if they offer true integration, openness, development tools, and a focus on innovation. Know what you need by considering your environment, requirements, customization needs, and future growth plans. A true platform will offer more flexibility and continuously adapt to your evolving needs. At Risetime, we help organizations learn more about modernization paths and why it is more than just a technology problem. In our next posts, we will discuss how to get started and the separate phases of software modernization.


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