Platform engineering: challenges, strategies, and outlook

Building Scalable Platforms: Dos and Don’ts

Ascendion May 6, 2024


Krishnendu Chakrabarty
Associate Director
Platform Engineering Ascendion

1. What are some common challenges enterprises face in building and upgrading engineering platforms? What should enterprises consider while upgrading their engineering platforms in 2024?

It has always remained a challenge to strike a balance between engineering excellence, the allocated budget and target timelines in any large platform engineering endeavor and it still remains one of the major points of contention. Additionally, with the level of advancement we are experiencing in the fields of AI and quantum computing, it has become extremely challenging to build a secured engineering platform capable of protecting user data.

A frugal approach, where a lot of care has been taken towards measuring how much engineering is actually needed along with being very mindful of the business needs, can go a long way. Optimizing the solution for items like cloud economics, SecOps and automation along with the right technology selection can significantly help. GenAI enablement during solutioning as well as implementation can be a game changer in this context.


2. How platform engineering is beneficial for Gen AI to automate repetitive coding tasks, suggest improvements to existing code, and even generate new code snippets based on developer intent?

It’s revolutionary to say the least, code generation and optimization is one of the primary areas where GenAI is getting used significantly. It can produce code in almost all the known languages with varied degrees of accuracy depending on the problem. The conversational GenAI tools and GenAI enabled IDE plugins can make this very effective for the developers. The critical part is that the developer needs to be equipped with the right system knowledge on the ground as well as command over the technology to reap the benefits.


3. Cloud and Metaverse are shaping the digital landscape. How does Ascendion incorporate these technologies into its platform engineering solutions, and what advantages do they offer in terms of user experience, data insights, and practical applications?

It’s safe to say that cloud engineering has become one of the de-facto technologies for almost everything in software engineering, and it has reached the position of a fully emerged technology and no longer remains a niche. Ascendion embraces this omnipresence of cloud technologies with dedicated COEs (Centers of Excellence), for all the premier cloud technologies which helps to find the right solution for a client problem. Ascendion also has a dedicated cloud economics COE backed by a set of powerful homegrown tools to enable optimization of cloud costs.

Ascendion fully understands the power of Metaverse technologies and leverages use case-based implementations and frameworks to solve any client problem in this area. Along with providing the right solution around Metaverse technologies, Ascendion COEs take extra care on finding the suitability of Metaverse technologies for a given solution as this tech is going through the hype phase in the industry.


4. User experience (UX) is pivotal in platform adoption. How does Ascendion prioritize user experience design in platform engineering, and what strategies are employed to ensure intuitive and engaging interfaces for end-users?

Dedicated COE, a very large library of pre-built designs which keep getting refreshed based on industry best practices and Ascendion’s own experiences interacting with the clients, special focus on accessibility and inclusive UI designs – are Ascendion’s ways of offering user experience solutions. A lot of effort goes into striking the right synergy between user experience designing and then backing it by optimum UI technology that is the best fit for the job. The usage of GenAI in creating rapid prototypes and rich UX components is another area where Ascendion has put a lot of focus around.


5. Building scalable engineering platforms requires a balance between flexibility and standardization. How can enterprises strike this balance to create platforms that are adaptable to unique client needs while maintaining a standardized and efficient engineering approach?

Creating high quality and independently scalable components, with an API first approach, would be the way to go. This enables the implementation teams to rewire the orchestration to meet various customer needs with relative ease. As a technology, containerization has reached the next level of maturity, and this provides a lot of benefits creating a hyper flexible application consisting of individually engineered components working together to achieve a common goal. The component-ization of software solutions lets teams with different skill sets focus on their part of the solution bringing in quality and an API based integration provides the flexibility.


6. Security is paramount in digital innovation. How does Ascendion approach security considerations in platform engineering, and what best practices should enterprises adopt to safeguard their platforms and user data?

Ascendion believes in embedding security in all aspects of software engineering rather than keeping it as a separate exercise. Left shifting of security via automation and DevSecOps engineering is the single most important item for making the application security practices sustainable – this enables to bring in the security culture from the very first day and standardize the security practices across organization.


7. Could you elaborate on how enterprises can effectively implement adaptive development workflows, and what advantages these workflows bring to the software and tech development process?

Adaptive development workflows help an implementation team prepare for continuous changes and pivot based on real user feedback. This could be extremely helpful in navigating through all the unavoidable changes that the industries are going through. To have an effective adaptive software development methodology, deep user interactions are a must – a feasible way to ensure this would be needed. Adaptive development methodology depends on extensive testing at all stages; hence an integrated development, QE and DevOps team and sufficient automation is critical for the success of such model.


8. Success metrics are vital. How should organizations measure the success of their platform engineering projects, and what key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for enterprises to monitor when evaluating the success of their platform development initiatives?

KPIs play an extremely vital role in making sure any platform engineering program follows the right trajectory and allows all the stakeholders to take objective decisions on whether any course correction is needed. By the inherent nature of the business – some of the KPIs become more important than the others and here, the expertise of the consultants plays a big role in platform engineering projects. In general, all the KPIs that measure security vulnerabilities, quality of the deliverables and compliance to the timelines give the best insight into the health of the program.


9. What is your outlook for the engineering platforms space over the next 3-4 years?

Platform engineering will remain one of the key drivers of organizational transformations and will embrace newer technologies in a deeper way. GenAI, with all its potential, is poised to become one of the most important platform engineering tools. GenAI infused platform engineering solutions will become more and more commonplace and it will contribute towards improving quality and reducing implementation time of the platform engineering projects. Other technologies like blockchain and metaverse will also have their niche based on the business use case. Security and performance, which have remained important aspects throughout, will continue to do so but will be aided by the new-age technologies.

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