WSO2 Founder and CEO Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana Explores Platformless Software Engineering at Web Summit Qatar 2024 Keynote Talk

Enterprise software delivery platforms, often based on Kubernetes and similar cluster management systems, have now revolutionized application deployment and management, enabling rapid scalability and seamless updates. While this agility is crucial for business success, it comes with challenges, such as the requirement for skilled platform engineering teams and intricate integration among multiple systems. Moreover, platform engineering prioritizes software delivery over the entire software engineering lifecycle, nudging organizations to rethink their strategy.

Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, Founder and CEO of WSO2, emphasized the urgent need for a paradigm shift to overcome these challenges during his keynote address at the recently concluded Web Summit Qatar 2024. He stated, “enterprises today need to move away from building and managing platforms to a more simple platformless approach. Building a platform is a lot of work, takes time and effort, and can be expensive.”

Weerawarana noted it did not imply the elimination of platforms but rather the creation of a boundary that makes the platform invisible to the user. He said in this new paradigm, the focus shifts from managing platforms to developing, building and deploying applications with seamless integration and monitoring, but without the intricacies of platform management. “In other words, platformless platforms move the focus of your technical team from playing with technology to delivering awesome digital experiences to both customers and employees.”

Platformless is an innovative concept combining four technology domains: API-first, cloud native middleware, platform engineering and developer experience. This combo allows for a holistic approach to enterprise software engineering, spanning the entire lifecycle and delivering a platformless experience, and enabling developers to build and deploy applications without the constraints of traditional platforms.

Weerawarana was among several distinguished speakers, including global leaders, industry experts, and innovators at the Qatar technology event held in Doha. The speakers discussed the future of technology and its impact on society. Other key speakers included author & presenter Trevor Noah; Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen, Kingdom of Jordan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister & Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Qatar; and Founder, CEO & Astronaut, Deep Space Initiative Sara Sabry, among others.

‘Platformless’ Allows Enterprises To Focus on Problem-Solving to Improve Business

Elaborating on why organizations should go platformless, Weerawarana said this enables businesses to connect different digital tools smoothly, thereby creating safe, reusable designs that can be quickly put together and managed efficiently. This means companies can focus on new ideas and deliver value without dealing with complicated systems.

For example, in a platformless setup, a developer can link a company’s main data system with lots of different web, mobile, and IoT applications. They can use different programming languages and tools and set up parts of applications without worrying about the main system. This saves time and lets them focus on solving problems to improve business.

Moving from traditional software platforms to a platformless approach is a big step forward in how companies develop and deliver applications. Platformless keeps the benefits of flexibility and fast deployment but makes the development process simpler and better, focusing on the apps themselves rather than the platform they run on. This speeds up development and also promises to create better apps for customers, driving innovation and business growth.

“A customer would not care about the technology you use to give them the digital experiences they’re looking for. That’s what matters and that’s what enterprises should focus on. The platformless approach helps organizations keep their focus on the right place and deliver rich experiences to customers,” added Weerawarana. 

To gain a deeper understanding of Platformless Software Engineering: Read Dr. Weerawarana’s thought leadership article. “It’s Time to Go Platformless” is also the theme of WSO2’s user conference due to take place from May 7-9, 2024 in Florida, USA. Attendees can gain insights into the latest trends in API management, integration, identity and access management, and cloud native application development from industry leaders, tech visionaries, and fellow enthusiasts at WSO2Con 2024 – registrations are now open.

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