PaaS Considerations for Building New Digital User Experiences

Accelerate Delivery by Turning to Platform as a Service Solutions

Kevin O'Connor

Enterprise users continuously demand enhanced digital experiences to increase productivity, and IT is faced with the ongoing challenge of building the infrastructure and services necessary to power those experiences. PaaS (Platform as a Service) is changing the way IT organizations deliver underlying application and micro services to drive these innovative digital experiences. But there is a great deal to consider when evaluating a shift to a PaaS cloud solution.

Today, many organizations are deploying a self-curated software stack and are maintaining at least some level of that stack using their own resources. Some organizations have on-staff database, directory, and middleware development experts that are responsible for the design and deployment of these services.

Many clients speak of the staffing challenges that come with hiring this expertise into their IT departments. Many organizations have resorted to hiring consultants to deliver this capability, but oftentimes this creates a disconnect between what’s needed and what’s delivered. This erodes the effectiveness of a self-curated model and can cause project delays and functionality gaps that ultimately impact the digital experience provided to customers and employees.

Understanding PaaS

Cloud market data shows that we are in for a massive adoption of SaaS in the next several years. This rise may seem meteoric given where software development is today. But, while there have been advancements in development methodologies and underlying tools, there is no larger effect to point at than the arrival of PaaS. Development organizations are starting to reconsider what elements of their underlying software and service stack should remain self-curated. And many organizations are seeing the rich services offered by PaaS players as the best path forward. Why? There are several reasons, but none stand out more than rate of innovation, maintenance, and SLA. All three of these dimensions enables the enterprise to develop, run, and manage applications with reduced complexity and higher established levels of performance.

The original intent of PaaS was to simplify the code-writing process for developers, with the infrastructure and operations handled by the PaaS provider. PaaS solutions initially offered the core services you’d find in a software stack – such as directory and database services. But in the past several years we’ve seen an aggressive investment by major PaaS players to deliver a more enhanced set of services – including notification, rich media delivery, and content syndication – no-SQL services for storing unstructured content, and a massive investment in analytics-orientated services to make PaaS platforms a viable home for Big Data and analytics applications.

Implementing PaaS

With PaaS, the enterprise manages applications and data while the provider manages runtime, middleware, operating system, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking resources. The major advantage of PaaS is the services stack is already deployed to your infrastructure and is managed by the PaaS provider. This ensures platform maintenance and SLA is intrinsically tied together and required the PaaS provider to design the platform to facilitate maintenance (patching, upgrades, and replacements) while ensuring the SLA is met. This is – and has been – the gap between IT development and operations teams for many years. With a focus on this becoming “the product,” organizations choosing PaaS can gain efficiency and improve their delivery.

PaaS also helps the enterprise adopt advanced technologies to enable new digital experiences. With a market of competing PaaS providers, clients will benefit. There will be a race for meaningful innovation natively integrated into PaaS platforms to ensure those services can be immediately consumed.

Fitting PaaS into Cloud Strategies

Providing optimal consideration of potential PaaS providers and determining how PaaS fits into your enterprise cloud strategy is essential, because there is no one-size-fits-all PaaS solution for building new digital user experiences. Selecting and implementing PaaS solutions requires adherence to best practices and an understanding of what’s required.

For more information, check out our Cloud Practice to see how we can help you discern, design, and deliver PaaS solutions so you can leverage the best of on-premises, off-premises, and hybrid options and build a new digital experiences for your enterprise users.