Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
When it comes to the development of software applications, many companies, understandably, focus exclusively on creating products for their customers. The process has always been very simple, but as technology advances, and more and more options become available to develop and deploy products, a certain approach has started to shift. The SysAdmin days of yore are far behind, and since the start of the Cloud Age with the launch of AWS in 2006, technology has enabled developers all over the world to create better applications, but at the cost of making development a more complex endeavor.
For example, let’s take the “Software-as-a-Service” (SaaS) model. An increasingly common way to offer software products with continuous support, it’s made possible by the widespread adoption of Cloud technology, allowing businesses to access software applications remotely through the Internet, on a pay-as-you-go basis. There are many advantages to this approach, including increased flexibility and scalability, but it also brought its own challenges. As this article puts it:
“Suddenly, engineers had to master 10 different tools, Helm charts, Terraform modules, etc. just to deploy and test a simple code change to one of multiple environments in your multi-cluster microservice setup. The problem is that throughout this toolchain evolution, the industry seemingly decided that division of labor (Ops and Devs), which proved successful in virtually every other sector of the global economy, was not a good idea. Instead, the DevOps paradigm was championed as the way to achieve a high-performing setup.”
This approach, however, while making sense for companies the size of Amazon or Google, can also create something of a rift when it comes to more medium-sized organizations, where the resources and manpower can’t quite match the scale of modern SaaS and Cloud-based development, and “developers (usually the more senior ones) end up taking responsibility for managing environments, infrastructure, etc.”, putting a strain on the team that can doom the outcome of a project. The expectations regarding the number of tools and frameworks that a team must master to create effective products today are sky-high, and as such, a new approach for comparatively smaller organizations must be found elsewhere. With that in mind, let’s talk about the rise of platform engineering.
The glue binding development together
Platform engineering is a term that is used to describe the process of designing, building, and maintaining platforms that are used by other applications, and it’s all about creating systems that can be reused and repurposed, emphasizing flexibility and modularity. In other words, the industry is leaving behind the idea of designing systems with specific functions in mind as a result of the world becoming more connected, demanding a shift toward system design that can be adapted to changing needs. And platform engineering is at the forefront of this new paradigm.
This is because platform engineering responds to the popularity of “self-service” as a development approach. To put it simply, self-service tools and platforms enable teams to have “the ability to create and configure resources” by themselves, away from more traditional models like a ticket system, which are a source of friction in the face of modern development methods. The trick, however, is that a good self-service platform is often developed and deployed internally, meaning that a lot of resources must be directed away from client-facing development, and toward the organization itself, and that can be a tough challenge to overcome.
There are real benefits to investing in internal tools and platforms, of course. For one thing, it can create a more efficient workflow that allows for greater collaboration between developers, helping to build a deeper understanding of the software development process because these platforms are tailor-made to the needs of a specific company. Perhaps most importantly, though, developing internal tools can give medium-sized companies a competitive edge, allowing for better efficiency in the software development process through the use of more effective and all-encompassing tools.
“If you’re a software development company, chances are you’ve considered developing your own internal tools and platforms. And there’s a good reason for that; doing so can be game-changing”, says Luis Aburto, CEO, and Founder of Scio. “For starters, developing for self-service allows you to optimize specifically for your company’s needs, meaning they’ll be more efficient and effective than any off-the-shelf solution. And by controlling the development process from start to finish, you can ensure that your tools have the flexibility necessary for more and more complex operations. Having proprietary tools and platforms gives any company a competitive edge.”
Coming back around, this is why platform engineering will be one of the most important trends of 2023. The process of creating an internal foundation upon which other applications can be built, is conceptualized as a sort of “glue” that binds every element of the development cycle. This can help many organizations to streamline their tools and frameworks, automatizing plenty of tasks that can increase the workload necessary to bring a SaaS application to life. This relatively new field is only now beginning to gain recognition, but it’s expected to become one of the most essential engineering disciplines in the years to come.
And as the world becomes increasingly digital, the need for platform-based applications will only continue to grow, with internal tools and platforms enabling software development companies to boost their efficiency, saving time and money, and improving the quality of their products. However, to meet this demand, engineers will need to be familiar with platform engineering principles, and those who can master this discipline will be very valued members of a team in the years to come.
Building a platform with the best talent
With all of this in mind, why don’t more software development companies focus on internal tooling? There are a few reasons. First, it’s often seen as a low priority compared to client work, especially for medium or smaller-sized organizations with a more limited pool of resources. And second, it can be expensive and time-consuming to develop these tools, further straining a development team. But in 2023, overcoming these obstacles can be the difference between success and failure for a company.
The biggest challenge, then, is building a great platform engineering team that can bring these tools to reality. This year will not only see platform engineering as a critical approach for most software development companies, but the talent necessary to bring these kinds of applications will be in huge demand, with a strong engineering team becoming essential to develop high-quality products. However, it’s not always easy to find talented engineers who are also a good fit for your culture and values, which is why Nearshore augmentation holds an answer for a company wanting to remain competitive in the face of this new reality.
“More than ever, having developers at your disposal with a DevOps background will be critical to building a proper platform engineering team that could change the way your company approaches development”, continues Luis. “And Nearshore partnerships are a great way to access the kind of talent pool you need to bring this vision to life. Latin America has an amazing array of experienced and talented developers that companies of all sizes, or even a start-up, can harness to success.”
So, if you’re looking to build a platform engineering team, partnering with a Nearshore company is the best way to do it. With a Nearshore partner, you’ll get access to top talent, be able to scale quickly, and maintain the kind of communication necessary to bring these kinds of projects to fruition. Choosing a self-service approach is a choice that has virtually no downsides for a company looking to keep ahead of the curve in the current technology landscape and bringing developers with talent and communication skills to your team is always the smart path to follow. As a result, you’ll be able to build a world-class platform engineering team that can help take your business to the next level.
The Key Takeaways
- The software industry is increasingly moving towards more complex development environments, thanks to the rise of technologies such as cloud platforms.
- The number of resources needed to effectively work in this environment may not be too much for a big company, but for a smaller organization, it can be a challenge to overcome.
- Among other things, this is why platform engineering and a self-service approach will keep growing in popularity in the coming year, popularizing the development of internal tools.
- However, this will also increase the number of experienced developers needed to bring these platforms to fruition, and a Nearshore partnership can be the answer to reach these goals.
Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!