Applying a platform architecture approach not only changes the way that these large solutions are architected but also changes the way the organization portfolio views and manages the technology. A platform architecture approach can provide benefits across the solution architecture and also enable improved business agility and IT economics.

A platform architecture aligns the business and technology architectures to business domain platforms. Under this model, platform architecture means:

"Structuring the business into domain owned technology platforms that deliver business value across and beyond the domain via domain owned and managed platform services."

Here is an example of how a platform architecture can be structured:

There are several important benefits that are enabled by taking a platform architecture approach.

The business domains can take ownership of the IT applications and systems they use allowing the domain to directly manage their technology investment roadmap without traditional constraints that come from a central IT function.

The platform approach help enables domains to clearly define key “platform services” that can then be exposed via service integration patterns for use by other parts of the business and potentially to external 3rd parties as well. This can also enable commercialization of key services by enabled 3rd parties to leverage them for added value.

For example, in the diagram above, the Warehouse & Delivery platform services might be used by 3rd parties to form a marketplace where logistic and courier companies could bid for deliveries via the platform services. Even the IT services the company uses can be structured into a supporting IT platform.

Separating the business into platforms also provides both structural and change independence. The implementation of the platform functions can independently evolve from the other business platforms. This requires that the platform services are provided through a service layer decoupling the service interface from the implementation.

Another key change that comes with the domain ownership of their platform is the new responsibilities of operating and supporting the platform as it is now acting as a service provider to other parts of the business and potentially other 3rd parties as well.

A platform architecture delivers benefits through domain autonomy and independence to evolve, adapt and provide new services to the market. Implementing a platform architecture and delivering platform services requires skills across architecture, technology integration and engineering disciplines. Without such experience and insight, the different platforms can devolve into dysfunctional technology domains hampering the outcome rather than empowering it.