MSP - Introducing the New TechSoup Enterprise Architecture

nbangia
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This is my first blog post, so it’s only appropriate that there be some introduction. My name is Nick Bangia, and I’m the Technical Lead on the MSP Product Team, within the Community & Platform group at TechSoup Global. I’ve been in the software engineering profession since early 2008, evern since I earned my BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em Horns!).

As you can tell from the title, TechSoup’s enterprise architecture is undergoing a major transformation. In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain to you how and why, and how you might be able to get involved.

Background

As a software engineer who has worked in both consulting and industry, I have been fortunate enough to work with various tools, technologies, and methodologies.

I have formed some of my own opinions, but I still see myself as a learner in this super wide world of IT. There is an endless field of knowledge in our industry, and I struggled early on to associate myself with any particular technology, especially enough to blog about them with any confidence that I knew what I was talking about.

That said, I do have a larger amount of experience working with the Microsoft stack (C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server, SSIS, SSAS, SSRS, WPF, WCF, etc...), and going forward, I’ll be quickly learning all kinds of open source tools and diving head-first into Java development.

The MSP and My TechSoup Life

One of my first projects when I started here at TechSoup in August 2012 was to do some research and prepare a deck about how the engineering team might build an MSP, or Multi-Sided Platform.

A common definition of an MSP: A platform that brings together two or more distinct but interdependent groups of customers. Such platforms are of value to one group of customers only if the other groups if customers are also present. The platform creates value by facilitating interactions between the different groups. A multi-sided platform grows in value to the extent that it attracts more users, a phenomenon known as the “Network Effect”.

There had already been some initial work and thought leadership behind the idea of an MSP, but nothing concrete had been developed, so I jumped into it head first without any idea of where we would end up.

Fast forward to today, and after some shuffling around, the MSP is being realized by the newly created Community & Platform team, and we just finished a hack-a-thon to get our enterprise architecture, and the base of the MSP created and ready to go! GO MSP!

Hacking for Social Good

So, I’ve given you an abstract, run of the mill definition of an MSP. But, what good is that if there is no concrete implementation of one that you can relate to? Read on...

The MSP is TechSoup’s new way of approaching the community of Donors, NGOs, individual contributors, developers, philanthropists, social innovators, and anybody who would ever come into contact with an NGO (read: the whole world) and providing a platform that fosters communication and innovation using technology for social good.

That said, we are in the infancy of building out the framework and architecture for the MSP. As we continue to make progress, look out for more blog posts on some of our successes, challenges, and even some code snippets that might help you out in any of your ongoing projects. Also, follow @teamcandp for updates on how the TechSoup Global Community and Platform team is building the future of TechSoup.