Platform Engineering: A Closer Look

By Ian Steyaert


One of the best ways to grasp a complex topic like platform engineering is through real-world case studies of the far-reaching changes it can effect in your organization. Our Head of Technology, Ian Steyaert, breaks down a couple of our best client examples.


United Rentals

After argo helped United Rentals evolve its business strategy to further leverage the emergence of digital tools on job sites worldwide, our Design and Technology teams worked closely with the company’s internal and third-party developers to enable and accelerate these new user experiences. With such a diverse set of stakeholders working across a variety of products and platforms, a system for consistency and efficiency was crucial.

Platform engineering provides an excellent starting point for strengthening relationships across engineering organizations, and extending these new connection pathways allows developers to personalize a system to best meet their needs. By helping plan out flexible, configurable, and scalable systems for key enabling technologies — along with agile project management to help prioritize product timelines — argo helped United Rentals accelerate their timelines, improving customer satisfaction and revenue.

Important to keep in mind: Platform Engineering alone can be too engineering-centric if it isn’t combined with a more holistic view of the organization and product portfolio. We recommend a parallel or integrated set of systems and self-service tools to consistently apply a Design Language System (DLS) and pre-configured patterns and application components into a seamless DesignOps and DevOps fabric. This enforces visual and UX consistency across platforms, and enables faster innovation for a more client-centric engagement style.

Platform engineering shouldn’t simply be an engineering solution or a UX styling pattern — it’s a culture change in product innovation and governance with lasting effects. By building reliable workflows, product teams throughout the organization can independently interact and self-serve with the capabilities they need for exceptional User Experiences.


Robert Half

What do you gain when you weave process throughout your organization’s digital portfolio? Many companies who focus on platform engineering are surprised to see how much it strengthens their relationships with both employees and customers. New pathways for connection form when people are consistently empowered to develop and personalize a system to best meet their needs.

Storied company Robert Half is an excellent example of this phenomenon. argo worked with the world’s largest specialized staffing firm to help them maintain their competitive edge by developing a platform-agnostic digital strategy that encourages greater engagement, spurs innovation, and enables self-service autonomy.

Building on the company’s deep understanding of clients and candidates, our approach shifted a transactional and functional experience to a relational and personalized one. With this ethos in mind, we implemented a holistic approach that combined the DLS, User Experience, and application components into a seamless DesignOps and DevOps fabric. This allows for not just visual and UX consistency across a myriad of platforms and systems, but also enables Robert Half to innovate rapidly and maintain a more streamlined, client-centric, and choice-driven engagement style.

By blending process throughout their digital portfolio, beyond the crucial IT-driven DevOps, Robert Half project teams have access to UX service design, consistent interaction principles, a version-controlled source of truth — plus the code packages, data, and APIs to back it up. We also developed the patterns and governance needed to scale and customize these systems and interactions across the enterprise.

Platform engineering is not simply a solution to a UX styling problem — it’s a culture change in product innovation and governance that can have lasting effects on every part of your organization.

About the Author

With both a Robotics degree and an MBA, Ian has worked as a development engineer, project manager, and director at companies including frog design, Emerson Process Management, and Whole Foods Market. His career spans more than 25 years driving user experience research and product optimization in industries such as retail, finance, technology, and manufacturing.