The Third Platform-Part 1: A New Reality for Business

Every major transition in technology has seen businesses disrupted and scrabbling to align themselves with the reality of new innovations. This was as true with the advent of mass production in the industrial era as it is in the world of mobile computing today.

Enterprise IT has been characterised by two main waves so far. The first era, of Mainframe computing, saw a few large centralised machines processing information and feeding it back to a small user base tied to consoles in close physical proximity to mainframes. This was followed by the era of client-server computing, where lower cost servers emerged alongside personal computers enabling information to be accessed widely across corporate networks. This had a dramatic impact on the scale and pervasiveness of computing, but kept a relatively tight virtual leash between end-users and their applications.

The complexity of deploying and enabling services in this environment served as a natural limiting factor for what you could do.

Now we have what IDC calls ‘the Third Platform’ – a new era emerging characterised by more powerful, portable devices; many more ‘apps’; and exponentially more information. Roles are reversing and it is employees driving the pace of technology change. You can see it every day in your office – from colleagues bringing their own tablets to work; through to services like DropBox to help personal productivity. Behind the scenes, a combination of mobile computing, cloud services, social media technology and Big Data is powering this change.

For more on transitioning to the Third Platform, read my full post on The Bigger Game.

About the Author: Adrian McDonald

Adrian McDonald is the EMEA President of Dell EMC. Adrian is responsible for the company’s overall revenue generation, management and business strategy in the region. As part of Dell Technologies, Adrian helps businesses understand and implement their own digital transformation, critically from a commercial as well as a technology perspective. In his role, Adrian has daily interactions with senior business leaders across EMEA and sees digital transformation as a top priority in helping companies win in the digital age. Adrian’s unique insight has led him to identify an evolution happening within the role of the CEO. This focuses on the CEO’s understanding and awareness of technology’s influence to ensure their business stays relevant and competitive in the fourth industrial revolution. This new type of CEO Adrian calls the ‘Connected CEO’ who strives for profit and revenue growth but now with technology and digital channels at the heart of this growth. Based at DELL EMC’s headquarters in London, Adrian has held the role of EMEA president since 2012. Whilst leading the business, Adrian has brought a relentless focus on innovation, notably with the introduction of a successful services and solutions-led agenda which continues to underpin the company’s drive for market-share capture. Since joining EMC in 1988, Adrian has held a variety of US-based, international and global positions at EMC including Senior Vice-President & General Manager for EMC’s business in the UK and then overseeing EMC’s EMEA-North region before becoming EMEA president in 2012. Adrian holds a BA Honours degree in History and Politics from Warwick University and is an alumni of Columbia Business School. He continues to be strong long-term supporter of the Princes Trust, sits on the EMEA Women in Action board and chairs the global MOSAIC board which advocates and promotes equality for minorities and cultural diversity.