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By Zahid Jiwa, VP of Sales UK & Ireland for OutSystems

Zahid Jiwa
Zahid Jiwa

The application development market is going through radical change. Not only has technology increased tenfold in complexity, but there are also many new tools to understand. Meanwhile, constant demands from the business continue to roll in. It’s hard for most developers to keep pace with the current rate of change. IT departments are expected to continually modify applications, and the number of new projects per developer just keeps growing. This creates an accumulation of new service or change requests from the business, which puts a massive strain on resource. Many IT departments have also found that their application development tools have been woefully inadequate and unable to cope with the level of complexity and change now required.

The net result is that a lot of organisations are seeking out better ways to develop new projects more quickly, flexibly and cost effectively. Many are turning to the cloud and to platform as a service (PaaS). The great news is that PaaS is now much more mature now than it was a few years ago. It’s less risky and as a result, organisations are much more receptive to using it.

Don’t get me wrong, adoption won’t happen overnight. I doubt that we will suddenly find that everyone is putting all their application development into the cloud. Instead, I believe that trust and confidence in PaaS will be built gradually as organisations move certain aspects of their development into the cloud. What PaaS does is it gives organisations more options.  For example,they may want to start a project in the cloud because it is quick and easy to fire up and they don’t have to go through multiple approvals to get a project underway.  Over time, they may move more and more of the development and production into the cloud or they may decide to keep a hybrid environment.

The other big benefit of PaaS is that it’s easier and simpler to manage than many other environments. Development teams can deliver massively scalable, complex applications that are simple to change and can easily integrate with their existing systems. It is a very economical option that also helps to alleviate resource pressures. You can also get developers assigned to a project much more efficiently. You are not shackled by other departments while you wait for approval. You simply turn it on as and when demand is required.  With PaaS, you have a huge amount of flexibility especially if the PaaS solution is non-proprietary and you have the freedom to move from one system to the next.

I have also found that PaaS helps to reduce the friction, because application development teams can easily become the scapegoat for failed or late projects. However, by having a quick and flexible platform to turn to where new initiatives can be driven forward more easily, development teams become more receptive to the demands of the business and over time they will start to build a better relationship with other departments.  PaaS can also help with internal resource challenges enabling organisations manage more with less.  Developers are also generally more motivated because they can get on and develop projects faster and consequently more inclined to innovate for the business.

PaaS is the perfect way for application developers to respond to new service and change requests from the business without breaking the bank or finding that they can’t deliver in the timescales that the business wants. Today, PaaS is scalable, reliable and more mature. It’s a viable service model compared to other more traditional options that application development teams have had at their disposal. No wonder PaaS is being touted as the fastest growing area in cloud computing.