The Platform as a Service (PaaS) market has evolved fast, as businesses begin to look for solutions that help speed up processes and minimise costs. Leveraging a PaaS approach brings with it the necessary flexibility and efficiency that is essential for driving business growth.
Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is a cloud-based service that enables businesses to build applications fast and efficiently – at a speed that in-house development often can’t match.
In the past, companies built and developed their own applications, demanding talent, server space, software to create programming environments, and security. This meant dealing with large in-house investment, complex software stacks, frequent updates, and hardware maintenance.
What is PaaS?
PaaS is a cloud-based service that eliminates the cost and complexity of developing applications. Platform as a Service is part of a family of cloud tools including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). It provides software development tools, application programming interfaces (APIs) and code to help streamline application development.
PaaS is designed to support the complete application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating. Being a cloud-based service, there’s no need to worry about set-up and maintenance of servers, upgrades and so on. It is up to the vendor to look after the platform, reducing maintenance and other IT costs for users.
What businesses gain with PaaS is a framework they can build upon to develop and customise applications. Creative agencies, consultancies and internal IT teams can leverage PaaS in order to build feature rich applications and services efficiently, accelerating the time-to-market. With PaaS, focus can be shifted to creating the best solution and user experience possible.
A platform usually comes with a set of additional services such as workflow or design tools. More specifically, a typical PaaS vendor provides:
- A complete development framework
- A comprehensive software development kit (SDK) and Java or .NET run-time libraries for building applications on a variety of mobile and desktop platforms
- APIs for embedding into web-based applications
- Sample code and pre-built applications to jump start development
- Extensive product documentation and support capabilities
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Why Choose a Platform Approach?
Leveraging a platform helps eliminate the expense and complexity of purchasing, configuring, and managing the hardware and software needed for custom-built applications.
Quite simply, a PaaS helps development teams save time and money allowing businesses to concentrate on building apps and services that add real value to customers. Some advantages of using a PaaS include:
PaaS is used to build applications more quickly than would be possible if developers had to build, configure, and provision their own platforms and backend infrastructure. With PaaS, developers gain instant access to a complete software development environment including sample code and pre-built components.
Following on from the point above, PaaS services allow for rapid prototyping and development by providing prebuilt backend infrastructure and other resources. A platform offers access to tools, templates, and code libraries which reduce development time and simplify the process.
A platform eliminates the need to build applications from scratch, reducing the costs normally associated with development. PaaS services are a viable option for companies looking to reduce their current operating costs, develop an application for the first time, or those with limited resources.
Reduced Pressure on Internal Resources
PaaS offers your in-house development team new capabilities, eliminating the need to hire skilled staff or outsource activities. A platform can also help a company reduce overheads since the vendor is the one that is in charge of managing and maintaining the software.
Pre-Built Sophisticated Tools
PaaS lets developers create applications using pre-built software components, reducing the amount of coding. With this, developers can take advantage of sophisticated development software and tools that would normally be too expensive to develop, test and reiterate in-house.
Opportunity for Scalability
The reusable code inside platforms not only facilitates ease of app development and deployment but also increases the opportunity for scalability. This allows businesses to scale and modify their product or processes easily and efficiently.
Develop for Multiple Platforms
The growing variety of mobile devices makes it imperative to build solutions that will work on a range of devices in order to seize all market opportunities.
Most PaaS vendors give you development options for multiple platforms, such as desktop and mobile apps. Using a platform to build one application to be deployed across multiple channels, including a range of connected devices, is a fast and cost-effective approach enabling scalability.
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With a platform, new features, capabilities and bug fixes are instantiated automatically in the cloud. That way, focus can be on core business initiatives rather than maintaining underlying IT infrastructure.
Things to Keep in Mind…
As you begin the PaaS decision-making process, it is important to understand your business needs in order to find a solution that is a good fit.
When choosing a PaaS provider, keep in mind the following:
It can become hard to switch PaaS providers after an application is built because it is built using a specific platform and set of tools. Each vendor may not support the same languages, libraries, APIs, architecture, or operating system used to build and run applications.
Although it is possible to switch PaaS providers, the process can be time consuming, labor intensive, and expensive. Switching vendors may even result in rebuilding or altering the application to fit the new platform, so make sure to choose your vendor wisely.
Security and Compliance
In a PaaS architecture, the external vendor will store most or all of an application’s data, along with hosting its code. In some cases the vendor may actually store the databases via a third party.
As such, it can be difficult to fully assess and test the security measures of the service provider. Make sure you are aware of each vendors security and compliance protocols before making a decision.
Making Money with PaaS
Avoid the costly process of custom application development with proven, pre-existing and robust platforms. A PaaS will allow you to expand your organisation’s capabilities, attract new clients, grow your business and extend your value proposition. The cost savings are a nice bonus but fundamentally, enterprise PaaS is about exploiting a competitive advantage through utilising pre-built software.
Leverage a PaaS approach to compliment your business’s strengths and narrow your focus to efficiently building high quality processes and solutions that deliver more value to your clients. With a platform, you can achieve higher margins, generate new business and build your revenue stream.