Empowering Innovation: How Platform Engineering Catalyzes Enterprise Growth

by Simon Mohr, Cloud Delivery Lead, Rackspace Technology

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Platform engineering is emerging as a critical innovation strategy for enterprises. In this seven-part series, we dive into the transformative potential of robust platform engineering — how it accelerates developer productivity, optimizes infrastructure, and benefits all levels, from CEOs to developers to product managers. Follow along in the coming weeks as we unpack the pivotal role it can play. Sign up for an ideation workshop here to learn more.

CEOs constantly seek strategies to drive growth in the rapidly evolving digital landscape while balancing costs, minimizing operational risks, and effectively managing resources. Platform engineering has emerged as a transformative discipline, offering a multitude of efficiencies and innovations. Platform engineering encompasses the development of tools and features that enable developers to deliver software more efficiently and reliably. It's about creating robust foundations that streamline development, deployment and operations processes. For many companies, this means faster time to market, improved product quality and increased ability to innovate. This article examines how platform engineering can pay for itself over time and generate a positive return on investment.

ROI analysis: cost vs. benefit

To understand how platform engineering can pay for itself and subsequently generate a positive ROI, we need to break down both the costs and benefits over time.

The initial costs of setting up a platform engineering practice include expenses related to tools, training and potentially hiring or consulting with specialists. While substantial, these are one-time, up-front costs that can decrease significantly over time.

Ongoing costs consist primarily of maintenance and periodic upgrades to platform tools and systems. With efficient management, these costs can be predictable and optimized.

The benefits of platform engineering accumulate over time:

  • Developers become more productive: They can add features, fix bugs quicker and adapt to new technologies faster. This leads to more product releases and features, directly contributing to revenue.
  • Downtime decreases: Automation and standardization lead to fewer errors and faster recovery, reducing costly downtime.
  • Accelerating time-to-market drives revenue: Accelerated development cycles enable quicker product launches and updates, keeping you competitive and generating revenue sooner.
  • Efficiency creates cost savings: Streamlined operations can result in the elimination of redundant roles and tasks, allowing more effective resource allocation and cost savings. When weighed over time, the cumulative efficiency gains and revenue benefits far outweigh the initial and ongoing costs.

ROI realization timeline:

The platform engineering approach delivers increasing developer productivity, system reliability, time-to-market acceleration, and cost efficiency over a multi-year timeline, enabling businesses to realize substantial cumulative benefits and ROI. Below is a look at three phases of ROI realization that are possible:

  • Short-term returns (6 months): During the initial investment period, costs might outweigh benefits. Focus on setting robust foundations and training your teams.
  • Mid-term returns (6 months to 1 year): As the platform stabilizes and teams become more proficient, you'll see a significant reduction in development times and operational costs, leading to a breakeven point.
  • Long-term returns (2+ years): The cumulative benefits vastly outweigh the initial and operational costs, leading to substantial net positive ROI. Continuous innovation and adaptation keep the platform and your business relevant and competitive.

Note: These returns are unlikely to be realized by asking your existing developer teams to take on the additional work of building the underlying platform. For best results, the platform engineering team should be a separate team that functions independently from your dev team.

Beyond generating ROI, platform engineering provides additional strategic benefits that strengthen your business over the long run. It can help you mitigate operational risks, increase agility and optimize your use of resources:

Mitigate operational risk: Platform engineering significantly reduces the risk of major failures and security breaches by standardizing development and operational procedures. The automation of testing and deployment processes helps dev teams to catch, correct and minimize the impact and frequency of errors.

Build infrastructure to pivot and innovate: Platform engineering can make it easier for your organization to pivot and respond to market changes quickly. A scalable and flexible infrastructure allows you to adapt to new market conditions, customer demands or technological advancements with minimal disruption.

Optimize resource usage: A well-implemented platform engineering strategy can lead to optimized resource utilization. A robust technical foundation allows developers to focus their efforts on building valuable products rather than fixing infrastructure issues. A strong platform setup also helps to ensure that systems can scale efficiently and cost-effectively.

Why partner with Rackspace?

Technology leaders are acutely aware of the cognitive load their development teams face. With the primary focus on delivering products and features that drive business value, adding the responsibility of managing and optimizing the underlying platform can lead to decreased productivity and increased burnout among developers. Platform engineering, as a distinct function, alleviates this burden. It enables a dedicated and focused team of specialists to concentrate on building and maintaining a robust, secure and efficient platform, which is the foundation upon which developers build and release software. 

Separating platform engineering from developer teams also presents a strategic opportunity to partner with experts in the field. This approach leverages the knowledge and experience of specialists in tune with the latest best practices, security standards and operational efficiencies. An expert partner like Rackspace Technology can navigate the complexities of infrastructure management, allowing developer teams to focus on their core competencies—creating innovative products and solutions that align with business goals. For CEOs, this means not only a more focused and productive development team but also a more resilient and agile IT infrastructure, optimized for both current and future needs, ultimately leading to a stronger competitive edge in the market.

Proven expertise

Rackspace Technology is a thought leader in this space with a proven track record of delivering the benefits of platform engineering for enterprise and mid-market corporations. We have helped customers realize the returns faster than they would have done on their own, becoming a trusted extension of their developer community. Notable achievements include faster time to market for product teams, lower attrition rates, faster onboarding for new developers and engineers, and huge reductions in MR queues. Rackspace Technology understands how to identify bottlenecks and deliver platform-engineered solutions quickly which in turn ensures quicker returns on your investment.

An investment in platform engineering can bring long-term value to your business. While the initial investment is significant, it paves the way for substantial cost savings, increased efficiency and revenue growth. By accelerating to market, improving product quality and ensuring your business can quickly adapt to change, platform engineering can catapult your company into a future of sustainable innovation and competitiveness.

To realize the transformative benefits of platform engineering for your business, contact our team for an ideation and strategy formulation workshop. Let's build a future where your company leads with innovation and efficiency.

Follow Solve to stay tuned as we unpack the transformative potential of platform engineering. Other articles in this series:


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