What is a Research Platform?
June 08, 2010
Anja Kanngieser, Brett Neilson, Ned Rossiter
For a brief moment in 2007 it seemed that everything was a platform. Seemingly a ubiquitous moniker in the world of tech marketing, the term platform became a substitute for the word product. The idea was to add an air of strategy and Web 2.0 savvy to the tireless rollout of software solutions and business objects that marked this particular moment in internet history. Indeed, at the first Web 2.0 conference in October 2004, Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle declared that one of the preliminary principles defining Web 2.0 was ‘The web as a platform’. Technically a platform is something you build upon. But it can also describe a declaration of principles (e.g. by a political candidate) or a piece of infrastructure dedicated to public discussion. In the computing world its most basic meaning is a piece of equipment or computer architecture that runs a particular operating system. But as a term of business jargon, its sense has run beyond this to describe what one technological consulting company calls the creation of ‘an environment of promiscuous integration as a way to accelerate operations, get closer to customers and partners, unlock innovation, and discover efficiencies’.