Srinivas Reddy’s Weblog

My Tech Rants

Service Platforms

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Join me in wishing the nation on turning 60, a little boys wish to the nation here is just right for the moment. While the recent blasts in Hyderabad show that we are still a young nation with a lot to learn, hopefully movies like ‘Chak De India’ can inspire us to do this.

Having recently read a article on Delivering Software using a Service platform here, I would like to share my insights on the emerging Service platforms.

We see off-late a trend in most Web 2.0 companies trying to establish themselves as ‘Platforms’. While recent efforts here by the like’s of Facebook and Plaxo are only a few to name, its worth looking into the motivations. While Facebook started as a Social networking site it currently offers lot of apps extending its core features (  There is a clear trend of people (especially the youth) to digitalise personal content (photos, music, contacts,…), share it in a community and create mashed up content.  As new services are offered (video, games, health care,…) such platforms will increasingly leverge their user base to be the service platform of choice. The recent launch of Web 2.0 site by Nokia ( reinforce this trend.

While innovations in service platform are being driven by startups (in terms of new services being offered) its important to understand the bigger picture in terms of what the tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon,.. are doing.

Some important questions to ask here are

– Who are the consumers of the service platform? Is it some hosting provider who will install and manage the platform (as in the case of Microsoft platform) or is it the end users themselves (as in case of Google) or some vendors who interface with your platform (such as power sellers in Ebay)?

– Does the Platform offer Infrastructure services (such as storage, processing,… offered by Amazon) or does it offer Applications (like hosted business apps from or a ‘AppliStructure’ (as offered by SAP)?

– What ‘Ecosystem’ does the Platform come with, in terms of Partners, Developer community, End-user community,…

– What Domain does the service platform address, Enterprise or Consumer and also if any special verticals that are focused (ex: Banking, Social networks,…). The current trend is to capture as wide a market as possible and there is a increasing overlap between enterprise and consumer markets. If one sees the increasing number of services that Microsoft (under and Google are offering (check looks like even the sky is not the limit for them ;o)

– Standards support and openness of the Platform. Its important that it should be possible to switch the service platform if needed and it should be possible to expose the services for composition (mashup) with services from other platforms. Is the plaftorm hosted only or possible to install as packaged software or as a multi-tenancy model

While its interesting times for Service platforms, Software developers need to understand the changing Industry landscape and learn to adapt to the new ecosystem.  While a lot of change is underway, one thing that will always be important is ‘to focus on the customer needs and add value for them’.

Written by srinivasreddy

August 31, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Technology

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