Platform-as-a-service: 12 Questions Separating Market Leaders from Laggards

The platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market got its start back in 2007 and it has taken 7 years for the last of the leading ISVs to deliver a product. Seven years is a long time. Apple launched the original iPhone back in 2007. It’s been said that until the iPhone, the only thing smart about a smartphone was you had to be smart in order to use one. Given the accelerating rate of change in the application development and deployment market, 7 years is almost an eternity.

Now that all of the leading ISVs are PaaS-enabled, it's the perfect time to take a critical look at how the vendors and their products are performing. A number of obvious issues come to mind immediately.

  1. Have vendors who were early to market (Amazon and Salesforce) experienced higher uptake, mind share, and market share? Does the inverse hold true for vendors who were later to market (IBM, Progress, and SAP)?
  2. What role does vendor size and experience play in adoption of PaaS? Do IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have a material advantage given their tenure in AD&D?

  3. How effective have new AD&D entrants (Amazon, Google, and Salesforce) been at driving PaaS adoption?

  4. What PaaS products are developers using?

  5. How satisfied are developers and IT managers with the PaaS products that they are using? If developers are satisfied with the PaaS they use, why are they satisfied?

  6. How long have developers been using PaaS products? Is there a strong correlation between adoption and product time in market?

  7. What vendors and products are delivering the highest levels of satisfaction and which vendors and products are at risk?

  8. What vendor capabilities and current/future features do developers want to see in PaaS products?

  9. How important are these vendor capabilities and PaaS features to developers?

  10. How important are public, private, and hybrid PaaS alternatives to developers?

  11. How important will PaaS be to developers and IT managers over the next 2 years?

  12. What impact does open source (Red Hat, Pivotal) have on PaaS adoption?

In order to answer these questions, ESG conducted a North American survey of senior developers and IT managers in November 2014 with the above agenda. Respondents had to be experienced and in a decision making role. Our approach to this survey went well beyond the traditional questions that will drive descriptive statistics including frequencies and cross-tabs. We used a form of discrete choice analysis to drive far higher levels of precision into our analysis of PaaS features. This will provide us with a highly accurate means to evaluate product expectations for developers and IT managers and see how these expectations align with product adoption. We also will be segmenting the analysis by role (developer or IT manager), which will allow us to better understand the features required to drive product adoption and the difference in importance between PaaS development features and deployment/operational features. Additional segmentation by company size and industry will enable us to see how development and deployment feature preference changes based on enterprise size and industry focus.

Because of the growing specialization around user engagement, back-end application logic, frameworks, high control, and high productivity development environments, we asked a variety of questions that will enable us to identify what languages, frameworks, and development environments are primarily in use and the characteristics of the ecosystems that surround these languages.

We’ll have the analysis of this survey completed in January, so stay tuned for the unvarnished truth on what developers want and how well the leading ISVs are supporting developer needs.

Topics: Cloud Services & Orchestration