Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Enterprise PaaS is a Great Strategy

When the CxO's get together to talk about strategy in our technical world, where is the conversation focused? Increasingly the discussion includes catch phrases like mobility, cloud, social media, and big data. In my experience the discussion starts with the business process, recently they've added the customer experience to the conversation, and about as deep as they go is down to the data. Why is that important to understand? In the world of the CxO they don't care about any technology below the apps and data (with the obvious exceptions of the CSO and the CTO who, often enough, only cares down to the integration layer). Every thing else is "staffed out" to their senior execs then down to senior managers, then managers, and then to the teams responsible. I'm painting with a broad brush I admit, and I'm not saying there are CxO's who can't talk stored procedures or network design, but it's not their focus. When it comes to cloud, the platform for mobile applications, social media, big data and business collaboration, the C-suite gets it! CEO's love the time to market benefits. CFO's love the capex vs opex and asset light approach of cloud. CIO's want the agility just as much as the COO's. CSO's like the private cloud model keeping everything inside the four walls.

Today the cloud strategy at large enterprises starts with building an infrastructure only private cloud build-out, often built upon a VMWare foundation. Company by company the consistent learning is mass virtualization does not lead to native cloud application development, the ultimate goal of cloud. Whether from a vendor or developed internally, native cloud applications deliver tremendous benefits including continuous availability, software reuse, efficient use of resources, and easier integration. What is missing at first, and often added quickly after adoption of the infrastructure private cloud fails to meet adoption goals, is the development of an Enterprise Platform as a Solution capability to engage the in-house developers and bring them into the cloud.  Enterprise Private PaaS is a significant part of the Fortune 500 Ready Cloud.

Simply put, a PaaS solution provides both a framework and supporting services to simplify the development of native cloud applications. An Enterprise PaaS scales the concept to meet the needs of the enterprise instead of an individual developer, team or small company. It may appear inconsistent that someone who advocates the use of Public Cloud (off-premise, multi-tenant) is advocating a Private Cloud focus. True, however here are my arguments in favor of Enterprise PaaS:
  • Developing Native Cloud Apps - drives developers up the learning curve on developing native cloud applications by reducing barriers and providing a platform for learning. Nobody can learn to develop for a cloud without a cloud.
  • Leveraging a Hybrid Cloud - CFO's and CIO's are keenly interested in tapping into the economic benefits of using someone else's IT assets (private off-prem or public). This is where the agility benefits are realized; the ability to scale up and down and deploy on demand as needed.
  • Taking Out Costs - infrastructure costs run 4-15% of an IT budget whereas applications comprise 30-50%. In addition the application costs are directly related to personnel costs which are an expensive, difficult to attract and retain resource.  Developing enterprise cloud services provides a significant opportunity to reduce development, testing, and people costs.  It helps that cloud solutions are largely predicated on open source and not proprietary solutions.
  • Moving to an Asset Light Foundation - cloud provides the opportunity to unchain ourselves from the evil reality of asset ownership, so driving adoption with Enterprise PaaS helps drive the benefits of asset ownership reduction.
  • Third Party Web Services - Nobody wants to reinvent the wheel, especially when it means starting back at the beginning when the wheel was made of rock shaped by another rock and lots of elbow grease.  Third parties are building and offering API's as a means of deeper and broader integration.  In the future many solutions bought today as services, and even applications, will be replaced by automated integration via web services.
  • Talent Management - Its already tough enough to compete for talent against companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.  Providing access to the same technologies will go a long way to attracting and retaining talent who don't want to fall behind their peers.
  • Path to the Public Cloud - you knew it was coming, my argument for how private cloud benefits public clouds.  As one who as warned about the pitfalls of private clouds, the benefit that outweighs the cost is ITS STILL CLOUD! Any step that increases the understanding of cloud is a positive step. Let the security and economic considerations play out over time. I have cast my lot with the group who expect the public cloud will win in the end. I don't care how companies get there.
Enterprise Private PaaS is a significantly important step in the direction of cloud adoption. Without the ability to write native cloud applications the true value of cloud, revenue generation, cannot be delivered. Writing these applications requires a shift in the mindset of developers, new tools, new programming skills, and steady movement up the learning curve.

Enterprise PaaS is the gateway to cloud innovation - step on through!


  1. Totally agree with you that Enterprise PaaS is the gateway to cloud innovation. Today's time lots of companies are trying to create best cloud application and software solution which will make things easy for businesses.
    Cloud Application Development

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