Internal Developer Platforms (IDPs) - or portals, as some call it - are slowly but surely establishing themselves as one of the new, hot cloud-native tools on teams’ radars. And while we are still waiting for a dedicated category in the CNCF landscape (wink wink @CNCF board), it’s great to see that Gartner, one of the biggest tech research and consulting firms in the world, is also picking up on this category.
In the latest report on “Innovation Insight for Internal Developer Portals” by Gartner® Humanitec is mentioned as one of the ten representative vendors in the vertical.
We’d of course be curious to see how Humanitec, as the current leader in IDPs, would do in a Magic Quadrant by Gartner, but it’s probably just a matter of time until they provide more data on that (wink wink @Gartner analysts). It’s clear they are noticing the impressive growth of the platform engieering movement (you can check the Platform Engineering Slack and meetups as proxies, as well as initiatives like PlatformCon).
So, what’s Gartner’s view on the Internal Developer Platform space? Not surprisingly, Gartner claims:
“Product teams often struggle due to disparate tools and disjointed workflows as they accelerate digital transformation. Software engineering leaders leading platform teams must establish internal, self-service developer portals to enable consistency and scale cloud, agile and DevOps initiatives.”
Read the full report (log in needed): https://www.gartner.com/document/4010078
Gartner’s key findings
Gartner’s key findings are in line with what previous studies in the field of scalability of DevOps setups and platforming initiatives showed. Their analysis mirrors a lot of the findings from the latest two State of DevOps Reports by Puppet, books like Team Topologies, or Humanitec’s DevOps Benchmarking Study 2021.
Improved developer experience
They all come to the same conclusion: if engineering organizations want to improve their software delivery speed in a sustainable and reliable manner (as measured by the four DevOps key metrics, established by the Accelerate book), they need to invest heavily in developer experience. Not only to improve developer productivity in general, but also to attract and retain engineering talent, which is increasingly difficult.
Platforming is the path to rapid innovation
What the above-mentioned industry studies have shown is now also confirmed by Gartner: platform teams and the IDPs they build for their internal customers, the developers, are the key to successful cloud adoption. While historically there’s been a trade-off between speed and agility vs security and compliance, IDPs bring the best of both worlds together. Well built platforms enforce best practices in governance, security and compliance by design, at the same time increasing developer velocity and productivity.
Gartner’s recommendations to engineering leaders
For these reasons, Gartner made a clear recommendation to engineering leaders, responsible for products as well as for platforms: establish Internal Developer Platforms (or portals) “to streamline the software delivery life cycle and support reuse, sharing and collaboration”. Such a platform should provide “built-in guardrails” for engineering teams, which “enable governance without sacrificing agility”.
Such platform needs clear ownership, great product management and continuous innovation to extend its features. Platform owners need to have a real product mindset, which means they also manage the roadmap, gather feedback and evangelize for the platform.
In summary, Gartner’s findings are nothing new, but it’s exciting to see the more established outlets in our industry finally picking up on the plaform engineering trend. We are humbled to be mentioned as one of the representative vendors in this field and we look forward to more future research.
If you want to learn more about how to take your first steps in platforming your delivery setup, join our upcoming webinars or hop on a call with us. Or have a look at the lineup for PlatofrmCon 2022, happening on June 9th and 10th, to hear from the top platform practitioners in the space.
*Gartner, “Innovation Insight for Internal Developer Portals”, Manjunath Bhat, Mark O’Neill and Oleksandr Matvitskyy, 1 February 2022
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