Is 2014 the year of Platform as a Service, or PaaS? Or is it part of one more cloud hype cycle?
Platform as a Service involves cloud-based delivery of middleware, databases and development tools — the essentials required for building enterprise applications.
There are good tech and business reasons for considering PaaS approaches. In a recent BrightTalk webcast, Sean Allen, director of product marketing for OutSystems, makes the case for PaaS, and why he feels the approach is exploding this year.
Here are the five forces creating this bull market for PaaS-based solutions:
Technology: PaaS standards are maturing, and security is getting better every day, Allen points out. “The concept of an entire application stack perhaps with additional solutions on top to accelerate design, development, deployment, and management of applications make it perfectly viable today,” Allen says. Plus, he adds, “integration is simply easier. This has been a barrier for a while — ‘how can I integrate to back-end systems to applications already in the cloud?’ Now, many packages are in the cloud, and even those that aren’t are much easier to do direct integration with.”
Expectations. “This is a big one,” Allen says. “You hear a lot about consumerization of IT, and what that really means is users now expect extremely easy to use applications for all aspects of their lives, whether it be their personal lives, getting from point a to point b with a mapping application on their phone, or whether it be a full customer 360 view on their tablet as they walk into a prospect’s headquarters. They want to be able to use whatever device that’s in front of them. They’re no longer willing to accept broken or held-together experiences or monolithic systems.”
Competition. Competitors aren’t sitting still, Allen says. “They’re finding ways to differentiate and innovate using technology and IT. It’s extremely important to be able to put yourself into a position to be agile, to move quickly.”
Pace. “The speed at which requirements are being generated is staggering,” says Allen. “And IT’s traditional ability to keep up with that pace of change is frankly not that great. And so bringing on a new technology that allows you to not only keep up and advance is extremely interesting. Every last efficiency must be squeezed out of the system, and IT must be ready to move and lead.”
Economics. “Faster time to market means faster time to revenue,” says Allen. “The quicker you can adjust and adapt to new requirements, new thoughts, new innovative ideas and approaches, new paths to market, the faster you can monetize that, and turn that into top line revenue for your business. Streamlining existing processes with systems of engagement that can keep up makes a company strong for acceleration, versus simply maintaining the status quo. And being able to accelerate my business with who I have on staff and what skills they currently have is an extremely compelling point.” The usage-based pricing patterns seen with subscription-based solutions are also much more commonly accepted these days, he adds.