The Role Of Digital Platform Conductor Tools In IT
As a leading research and advisory company, Gartner reports on trends in IT and business. And because technology is rapidly evolving, Gartner’s job often includes creating categories that help to define and explain those trends.
That’s the context for Gartner’s latest key term, Digital Platform Conductor Tool.
Digital Platform Conductor (DPC) tools are digital solutions that enable organizations to manage infrastructure across environments, regardless of technology. This includes managing application workloads, standardizing business rules and providing centralized views of IT infrastructure, including how resources support and connect to applications.
As IT environments become more complex, it becomes more difficult to monitor and coordinate all tasks, workloads and applications. Reliance on disparate technologies is unavoidable but leads to fragmented or siloed deployments. These complex environments create fragility, with too many moving parts that resist change and are prone to failures.
In order to build resilient systems, IT teams need to simplify their environments by centralizing control over infrastructure, monitoring, workloads, troubleshooting and more. Gartner suggests building a hybrid digital infrastructure management (HDIM) toolkit, a set of tools that enable IT to manage and monitor across on-premises and private/public cloud ecosystems.
DPC tools, as Gartner notes, “should not be anointed to replace all the tools for monitoring, ticketing, orchestration, provisioning and other activities”, but rather be included as a key tool for HDIM and digital transformation.1
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DPC Tools And Long-Term IT Trends
There’s a lot of overlap between the capabilities and use cases of DPC tools and other types of tools, such as digital process automation, workload automation and service orchestration tools. The differences between these technologies is largely a matter of what tech they evolved from and where in your tech stack these tools are deployed.
DPC tools are generally deployed at the infrastructure and virtualization layer, connecting to the application or service layer.
The goal for all these categories is to orchestrate end-to-end processes that deliver real-time services to end-users — that’s the direction vendors are taking technology in. Organizations are accelerating their digital business initiatives to meet changing market demands, trends in technology, economic turbulence and more. Creating innovative digital solutions can greatly improve customer experience, operational efficiency and the overall success of the organization. But these digital initiatives require new applications, systems and technologies.
Vendors understand that IT teams are struggling with data silos, integration challenges and more. As a result, IT vendors are racing to create holistic software as opposed to point solutions, developing tools that are easier to integrate across platforms:
“The wide range of tools needed for a hybrid digital infrastructure management (HDIM) toolset is prompting many vendors to add in cross-functional capabilities for managing the overall digital platform, resulting in duplicate functionality across multiple products.”– Gartner, Innovation Insight For Digital Platform Conductor Tools
It’s clear by this point that DPC tools are part of a larger trend towards orchestration, both in regards to IT departments and IT vendors. Generally, there are four main hurdles for IT departments seeking to implement an orchestration initiative:
- Extensibility: finding a management platform that can connect across your tech stack, with support for new and emerging technologies
- Scalability: being able to orchestrate workflows that can scale to meet dynamic needs
- Manual tasks: having too many manual tasks introduces delays and unnecessary risks that make it difficult to build reliable, scalable services while meeting high-value goals
- Monitoring: fractured environments and silos make it difficult to gain visibility into cross-platform processes, slowing down efforts to optimize and automate
Tools that support process orchestration (DPA, WLA, DPC, SOAPs, etc.) help address these hurdles by providing extensible automation and the features needed to centralize your monitoring and optimization.
Where Orchestration Goes From Here
It’s important to remember that orchestration itself isn’t a new concept — we orchestrate basic tasks with operating systems, abstracting away complexity. We used to not have to. Today, we have too many operating systems, applications and hardware to manage and are abstracting away that complexity into new, integrated interfaces.
The next decade will be a rollercoaster ride of technological growth. 5G, AI, APIs, hybrid infrastructure — IT environments will become increasingly complex. In order to keep pace with changing business needs, IT teams will need a way to simplify control over their tech stacks. Hybrid digital infrastructure management tools such as digital platform conductor tools will play a key role in these efforts (at least until we need yet another layer of abstraction).
1) Gartner, “Innovation Insight For Digital Platform Conductor Tools”, April 2021
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