An Expert Guide to Using Digital Platforms

How to Architect Cloud Based Platforms for Digital Systems Integration

Typically a Digital Platform design consists of these platforms and components:

what-digital-platform-design-includes

This diagram below illustrates how these components fit together.

how-digital-platform-components-fit-together

The Switchboard Approach

Later in this blog, we will explore different digital platform strategies for implementing a Digital Platform such as Switchboard, Sync and Hybrid. For now, this article will focus on the Switchboard approach.

In this approach, a user is using a modern iOS mobile App which accesses the Digital Platform. The sequence of events is:

  1. The user requests information using the modern API relating to a particular Product
  2. The Identity Platform authenticates the user
  3. The Security Manager authorises the request
  4. The Data Broker dispatches messages requesting information about the Product to all Digital Adapters
  5. Each Digital Adapter simultaneously returns all information that it has relating to the Product to the Data Broker
  6. The Data Broker collates all the data and returns it to the App via the API response

This sequence of events can be synchronous or asynchronous depending on the availability and reliability of the systems a Digital Adapter is connected to.

The Microsoft Azure Implementation

Many cloud based platforms can be used for this type of digital systems integration. The diagram below shows a Microsoft Azure based implementation of the Digital Platform as described above:

microsoft-azure-based-digital-platform-implementation

The Benefits

It can be seen that the Digital Platform approach allows a modern, REST API to easily overlay legacy systems through the use of cloud technologies and Digital Adapters.

Click below to view the next chapter on how to do data modelling for your new Digital Platform.

Nick McKenna
Since 2004, Nick McKenna, BSc, MBCS Biography has been the CEO of McKenna Consultants. McKenna Consultants is a bespoke software development based in North Yorkshire, specialising in Cloud development, mobile App development, progressive web App development, systems integration and the Internet of Things development. Nick also holds a First Class Degree in Computer Science (BSc) and wrote his first computer program at the age of nine, on a BBC Micro Model B computer. For the last 21 years, Nick has been a professional computer programmer and software architecture. Nick’s technical expertise includes; Net Core, C#, Microsoft Azure, Asp.Net, RESTful web services, eProcurement, Swift, iOS mobile development, Java, Android mobile development, C++, Internet Of Things and more. In addition, Nick is experienced in Agile coaching, training and consultancy, applying modern Agile management techniques to marketing and running McKenna Consultants, as well as the development of software for clients. Nick is a Certified Enterprise Coach (Scrum Alliance), SAFe Program Consultant (SAI), Certified LeSS Practitioner (LeSS) and Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioner. Outside the office, Nick is a professional scuba diver and he holds the rank of Black Belt 5th Dan in Karate.