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CIO Question: What is the Right PaaS for Enterprises?

Abstraction, productivity, modeling - Visual PaaS

There are a number of the Cloud Application Platforms out there. This Gartner's report on PaaS lists some prominent PaaS platforms like Azure, App Engine, Engine Yard, Force.com, Heroku, OrangeScape and few more. And, that makes the life of CIO difficult in choosing the right PaaS for his enterprise. A logical approach would be to look at key enterprise needs &  motivations.

Unlike a software vendor, an end-user company i.e. an enterprise, is not in the business of making money through software. Enterprises make money from their core business, like making cars, selling insurance, digging for oil, etc.  For enterprises software is an enabler - a means to an end. Software is a way to make their business effective and efficient to compete against their competition. That's where it stops. This is true for 80% of the enterprises. I am ignoring the outliers and putting them into the 20% bucket.

For enterprises - software is context not core.

Given this background of enterprise need and motivation, the key evaluation criteria when they are transitioning from pre-cloud app servers, web servers, various middle-wares to native cloud based application platforms should be :

a) Choosing Productivity over Control : For Enterprises productivity and time to market is more important than letting go some amount of control. They have always done this in the past and there is no reason not to do that in choosing the right cloud application platform.

b) Choosing Abstraction over Granularity : The IT skill set in the enterprise is not comparable to that of "Engineering Skill Set"  that exists in an ISV environment for managing fine grained assembly of platform components. In pre-cloud there was no choice of a pre-built stack for CIOs and there in no excuse for not choosing one now!

c) Choosing Modeling Over Nuts and Bolts Programming : Fundamentally, enterprises are about dashboard and not about log files. They are about WYSWYG / drag drop not source code. Yes, I do agree that, there has to be some programming flexibility for creating extensions. And, the Visual PaaS Platforms do provide that.

Verdict: As the graphic illustration suggests - for majority of the use cases, enterprises are better off with Visual PaaS platforms rather than programming platforms.

More Stories By Suresh Sambandam

After an initial entrepreneurial stint for three years at the age of 19, Suresh Sambandam went on to work at Hewlett-Packard. Later, Suresh joined Selectica and rose to senior position, as Director of e-Insurance product division in a short-span. The e-Insurance division and its products were later acquired by Accenture. Suresh is a technocrat specializing in product engineering with expertise in software architecture for complex enterprise applications, inference engines, configuration engines, rule-based computing and enterprise middleware. He has applied for multiple patents. Suresh is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology startups and spends a significant amount of personal time in the start-up ecosystem in Chennai. Suresh is a member of the National Council for Emerging Companies Forum and also a core committee member of Product Forum at NASSCOM. He also does mentoring for budding entrepreneurs at IIT Bombay, E-Cell. Suresh is a regular speaker at various industry forums & academic institutions.

Suresh is the Founder & CEO of OrangeScape. OrangeScape is a platform (PaaS - Platform as a Service) to develop process oriented business applications that can be deployed "On Cloud" and "On Premise". OrangeScape supports platforms like Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure as cloud deployment option and Microsoft .Net and J2EE as on-premise deployment options. OrangeScape has 50+ customers including global brands like Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Fullterton, etc. OrangeScape in the only Indian company has been featured in the PaaS research reports of Forrester and Gartner. OrangeScape has been featured as 'India's Rising Tech Stars' by Forbes(US) magazine. OrangeScape was showcased as one of the 3 emerging product companies in India by Nasscom and was also awarded 'Top IT Innovations' for 2 consecutive years.

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