Paving the Way for an Interconnected 3rd Platform


In a recent white paper sponsored by Equinix entitled, “3rd Platform-Enabled Digital Transformation Strategies Require Interconnection Oriented Architecture,” IDC describes a new paradigm for business-enabling IT called the “3rd Platform.” It’s through the 3rd Platform that businesses can pave the path towards digital transformation (DX) ̶ “the process of creating value, growth and competitive advantage through new digital offerings, new digital business models and new digital business relationships.” IDC predicts that by the end of 2017, two-thirds of Global 2000 CEOs will have DX at the center of their corporate strategies.

IDC defines the four technology pillars of the 3rd Platform as cloud, mobility, big data/analytics and social ̶ “the IT raw material for transformation,” which will account for more than 60% of the enterprise IT spending by 2020. The underpinnings of the 3rd Platform are interconnection-first IT architectures and frameworks that accelerate business innovation, velocity and agility.

The pressures to create new streams of revenue, optimize operational efficiency, enhance productivity and accelerate industrialized innovation are forcing business and IT leaders to rethink business models and redefine their “IT edge” to solve more complex problems. These problems include interconnecting increasingly distributed islands of in-house and third-party IT, applications and data resources, which need to connect to each other and the people, locations and clouds that need to access them.

IDC states that the 3rd Platform and its new methods of business value creation is stressing and exposing the limitations of the fragmented, disconnected 2nd Platform IT, which is not capable of supporting DX. DX requires that IT delivery evolves from centralized and siloed, to geographically distributed and interconnected in order to bring together business ecosystems of people, locations, clouds and big data/analytics platforms in an agile, scalable platform.

For example, digital media services such as Netflix, Uber and Airbnb rely on distributed environments in which different interrelated tiers (customer database, digital payment processing, business logic, etc.) may reside in multiple private and public clouds. These services are typically personalized, driven by cognitive and big data-driven insights, and dynamically assembled and delivered to the end user in milliseconds. All of this requires a greater level of direct, secure, scalable and reliable interconnection than cannot currently be delivered by legacy enterprise networks or the Internet.

As DX introduces dramatic changes in business workflows that require coordination among multiple systems, networks, geographic locations, and “communities of value,” the criticality of an interconnection-first strategy becomes more apparent. And according to the IDC report, the quality of the end user experience for these types of services and other digital business interactions is “100% defined by the quality of your interconnection.”

Enterprises that become “Interconnected Enterprises” by adopting an Interconnection Oriented Architecture™ will be best positioned to exploit the promise of 3rd Platform-driven digital transformation. Digital transformation within the Interconnected Enterprise is demonstrated by

  • Real-time communications and collaboration across the extended enterprise
  • Improved business agility and flexibility
  • Dynamic workflows across business ecosystems
  • Low-latency transaction processing, data transfers, and application/service delivery and access
  • Omni-channel customer engagement
  • Rapid expansion of business scale, growth and reach

IDC, however, makes the point that enterprises may not want to take the “do it yourself” approach to deploying 3rd Platform IT and interconnection-oriented architectures. There is a better way to achieve DX through a platform where globally distributed interconnection and colocation data center facilities, such as those provided by Equinix, combine the physical and virtual proximity of multiple networks, clouds and technology service providers, digital business exchanges, data stores and other business-enabling capabilities. A platform that allows the “interconnected enterprise” to offer secure and direct points of integration with the participants in its digital business supply chain.

Download the complete IDC White Paper.