On Wednesday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, Platform Engineering for The Future. A huge thank you to our panelists James Norman, Sr. Director Software Engineering at Optum, Amitav Singh, Director, Digital Product Delivery at Further, and Kulveer Chahal, Sr. Engineering Manager at Target for informing us on Platform Engineering and how companies are using it. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

How would you describe Platform Engineering? 

Platform engineering is like Airbnb. It bridges the gap between hardware and software, which makes it an engineering platform. Platform engineering also has its own development process in technology and has its own defined set of tools. You want platform engineering to be easily consumable, so that’s why it has basic requirements that the platform must use. The platform aspect is used as a delivery vehicle. 

How has the shift to platform engineering impacted/improved the customer experience? 

Platform engineering has shifted to a developer or operation experience. Business users can also use what is being created even though the platform is extracting a lot of underlying complexity. The complexity of the platform can change the user experience, but it doesn’t mean the whole platform will change. Everything created has a good UX designer who helps the platform engineers provide the best user experience.  

What are some biggest challenges for any platform team? 

For any platform team, it’s hard to find people who can do everything. Realisticallythere isn’t someone out there who can do everything for platform engineering. Companies are hiring people for their teams who can continuously improve the platform with their different skill sets. It’s also important to find engineers who are familiar with the technology track and want to make each platform reversible. This makes it easier for the team in the long term.  

How is the platform engineer role different from DevOps roles? 

Both roles use some form of DevOps methodology. Both roles need to understand each other because they do work together, especially the platform engineering, understanding the DevOps side. DevOps is a culture, and there are boundaries set between platform engineering and DevOps 

What is a trend in platform engineering which excites you the most? 

One thing that excited the panelists was that platform engineering has basic needs like reliability, security, and compliance. After those basic needs are met, then you can move the platform to some high-end cloud depending on the consumer’s needs. Another trend is that the user experience is becoming more consumer accessible. The platform should be connecting users and consumers.  

Platform engineering is new to some businesses and is something that companies are going to look into for the future.