The Third Platform is an information technology (IT) term coined by IDC that distinguishes the current IT environment of mobile, social, cloud and Big Data from earlier eras of computing.
The evolution of the Third Platform has led hardware and software firms to adjust their business models to align more closely with the needs and demands of consumers first, with enhancements for enterprises following.
This is in contrast to earlier eras of computing, where development and innovation focused first on the needs of enterprises rather than consumers.
From the First Platform of IT to the Evolution of the Third Platform
The First Platform began in the 1950s and revolved around mainframe computers. In the 1980s the Second Platform took the fore as the client/server architecture and PC computers gained prominence, primarily for their lower cost of ownership and ease of deployment and use.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) first applied the Third Platform label to the IT sector in 2007, and the market intelligence firm states the 3rd Platform is built on the four pillars of mobile devices, cloud computing, social networking and Big Data and associated analytics.