The Effects of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) on ISVs

Over the past decade, the ascent of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has allowed Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to develop new applications hosted and delivered on the Web. Until recently, however, any ISV creating a SaaS offering has been required to create its own hosting and service delivery infrastructure. With the rise of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) over the past two years, this has all changed. As the online equivalent of conventional computing platforms, PaaS provides an immediate infrastructure on which an ISV can quickly build and deliver a SaaS application.

Many ISVs are hesitant to bind their fate to an emerging platform provider, yet those that have taken a leap of faith and adopted PaaS early on have reaped the benefits, seeing dramatic reductions in development costs and timescales. PaaS supercharges SaaS by lowering barriers to entry and foreshortening time-to-market, this quickening the pace of innovation and intensifying competition.

The nature of ISVs will forever be altered by the advent of PaaS, not only ISVs who choose to introduce SaaS offerings but those who remain tethered to conventionally-licenses, customer-operated software products. The ways in which PaaS alters the competitive landscape across a variety of parameters:

Dramatically quicker cycles of innovation

By implementing the iterative, continuous improvement upgrade model of SaaS, PaaS allows developers to monitor and subsequently respond to customer usage and feedback and quickly incorporate the latest functionality into their own applications.

Lowered price points

Developers’ costs are cut down across multiple dimensions by the shared, pay-as-you-go, elastic infrastructure of PaaS. This results in greatly reduced development and operations costs.

Multiplicity of players from reduced barriers to entry

Large numbers of market entrants are attracted to the low costs of starting on a PaaS provider’s infrastructure. These entrants would not otherwise be able to fund their own infrastructure and thanks to a PaaS are able to significantly increase innovation and competition.

New business models, propositions, partner channels and routes to market

New ways of offering products and bringing them to market, many of them highly disruptive to established models, are created by the “as-a-service” model.

It is important for ISVs to understand and evaluate that PaaS is different than other platforms in order for them to remain in control of their own destiny. PaaS is a new kind of platform, the dynamics of which are different than conventional software platforms. Developers need to be weary of assessing PaaS alternatives on the basis of criteria that are not valid when applied to PaaS. For more information on Platform as a Service please visit Nubifer.com.

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