Expanding definition of IT platform creates $4.3 trillion opportunity

Posted by Mike Vizard on Jan 19, 2016 11:30:00 AM

IT_platforms.jpgToday, most of the relationships IT services providers have with vendors stem from on-premise transactions. With the rise of the cloud, though, those relationships have begun to evolve. The Rise of the Platform Enterprise: A Global Survey, a new report issued by The Center for the Global Enterprise (GCE), suggests that IT services providers need to start appreciating the number of platforms that now serve as the foundation around which IT ecosystems evolve.

In all, the GCE report suggests there are 176 IT platforms that in aggregate can be valued north of $4.3 trillion. The report further breaks that list down into 160 transaction platforms, valued at $1.1 trillion and made up mainly of Web-scale stalwarts such as Tencent and Paypal. Next up are innovation platforms, valued at $911 billion, which includes Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, SAP, and Salesforce. Following that group is a list of integrated platforms lead by Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, and XioaMi that is valued at $2 trillion. Finally, there is a small group of investment platforms, which includes Priceline and Softbank, that make up the balance for the $4.3 trillion total.

Considering new opportunities

GCE contends that every company is—to one degree or another—trying to become a platform that an economic ecosystem driven by IT revolves around. For IT service providers, the idea that Microsoft and Oracle have created a platform that is the center of a whole ecosystem is not a particularly new idea. However, the idea that there are now ecosystems revolving around many transaction and integrated platforms should give IT services providers cause to rethink how they approach partnering.

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While most IT services providers have spent years developing relationships with Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Intel, and other traditional enterprise vendors, the GCE report shows that the organizations operating ecosystems outside of those traditional enterprise vendors now have considerable economic sway.

In fact, the report makes it clear that the size and scope of these new IT platform ecosystems appears to be getting larger with each passing day, thanks to the rise of application programming interfaces (APIs). That would mean IT services providers that focus entirely on traditional enterprise vendors are limiting their efforts to a $911 billion market instead of a larger $4.3 trillion market.

Building new partnerships

Of course, traditional enterprise vendors will continue to create the ecosystems that drive the bulk of the business for most IT services providers. But for providers looking to grow aggressively, the time has come to expand their thinking in terms of the number of IT ecosystems they participate in.

Most of the vendors listed in the transaction and integrated platform segments of the GCE report are already looking to create meaningful partnerships with IT services providers. Arguably, that means number of vendors creating partner programs specifically for IT services providers is growing at unprecedented rates.

Naturally, IT service providers will want to focus their efforts on the few vendors that help drive the most revenue for them. But the days when IT services providers limit their scope to a few classic enterprise IT vendors are coming to a close.

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Photo Credit: Horia Varlan via Flickr.com. Used under CC 2.0 License.


Topics: IT Services Trends

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