By NearForm

How Platform Engineering Accelerates Software Delivery

If your organisation has moved to the Cloud to drive business growth, but is still facing software delivery challenges surrounding speed and scale, then you could be missing a key piece to the development puzzle: a platform engineering team. 

Platform engineering is a strategic approach to software development that combines dedicated workflows and tooling to accelerate delivery and remove the burden on development teams. While platform engineering bears similarities with DevOps, the two are distinct practices with differing functions.

Put simply, platform engineers build systems and workflows for developers to work from, while DevOps engineers implement processes, tools and methodologies to support the software development life cycle.

Platform engineering teams are on the rise—and for good reason. With that said, read on to find out how your organisation can benefit from a dedicated platform engineering team, as well as how to get started.

Four signs you need a platform engineering team

Is your organisation under increasing pressure to cope with demands from consumers and business partners?

Perhaps you have several teams working on multiple products and are experiencing slow software delivery as a result, translating into a lack of new features and difficulty keeping up with the market.

Maybe developers within your organisation are becoming bogged down with manual tasks, preventing them from focusing on critical features directly linked to business impact.

Finally, your business’ developers or product teams may be duplicating efforts, leading to a lack of standardisation across your infrastructure, multiple, varying tech stacks, and little to no self-service or automation.

All of these signs indicate that your business could benefit from a dedicated platform engineering function.

Increase engineering productivity and performance

If your business wants to increase engineering productivity and performance, then a platform engineering team could be the answer.

Without a dedicated team, engineers themselves may try to take on the responsibility of building the necessary tooling and infrastructure required. However, with limited time to dedicate to this, this is likely to either be: a) ineffectual and/or b) detract from vital development work, further stalling production.

According to McKinsey, ‘Companies need to develop career paths that enable deep experts to advance without deviating too far from their core responsibilities or ending up leading a large team.’ What’s more, ‘This kind of talent strategy not only makes top talent more productive but also enables experts to lead platform designs and work collaboratively, all of which are critical to operating-model success.’

Having separate resources dedicated to building highly efficient developer platforms and tooling not only removes the burden from engineering teams, but also democratises the process, since more than one person is responsible for the overriding infrastructure. From a governance perspective, this helps to ensure visibility across your organisation’s technical footprint and reinforce best practices.

Related Read: Engineering End-to-End Velocity in the Cloud

Create purpose-built tools to accelerate new features

As well as freeing up developers’ time to work on new features, a platform engineering team can leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to build the precise tools developers need to meet critical business outcomes, faster.

‘Some organizations may choose to evolve their IT function into a platform operating model —a set of independent, agile teams consisting of business and IT—enabling the company to move quickly on decisions and capture opportunity.’

McKinsey

Infrastructure as Code is a modern and scalable approach to configuring infrastructure, which avoids many of the historical challenges associated with manual configuration, such as human error and unforeseen costs.

Having a platform engineering team dedicated to engineering purpose-built tools for developers helps to accelerate software delivery and reduce the time to market for new features, driving greater agility and competitive advantage.

Building a platform engineering team for growth

If you currently have multiple teams working on similar features, then it’s highly likely your organisation will benefit from establishing a platform engineering team.

However, while the benefits of creating a platform engineering team are numerous, attracting the right talent can be a real challenge. Introducing a platform engineering function also requires cultural change, especially if your organisation is still operating on-premise legacy infrastructure and yet to fully transition to the Cloud.

If you’re seeking to modernise your engineering culture and team, our engineering practitioners can help to set you up for success—from identifying your business’ unique requirements, to defining what ‘good’ looks like, to guidance on hiring the most capable team.

Book a free consultation with us today to learn more about how a platform engineering team can benefit your business, as well as how we can help.

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