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Demand for cloud-hosted PaaS solutions on the rise

By Catherine Knowles
Thu 19 May 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cloud-hosted Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions are becoming more popular as modern developers who work with B2B eCommerce solutions favour them over anything else.

This is according to a new Forrester Consulting survey commissioned by Four51, that found developers today need modern APIs and integration capabilities, support for mobile, security requirements, as well as ability to customise and rapidly deploy eCommerce applications to the cloud. Cloud-hosted PaaS solutions provide this, Four51 says.

The study evaluates how B2B eCommerce systems fit into the broader digital landscape, what platform functionality developers and IT architectures require to deliver eCommerce capabilities within modern websites and apps, and perceptions of various approaches to B2B eCommerce delivery.

Key findings include:

Disappointment with legacy platforms continues to rise

While on-premises deployment constitutes the largest share of B2B eCommerce deployments today (28%), 64% of developers surveyed find their current eCommerce solution is not delivering the qualities they want in a B2B eCommerce platform, the study finds.

In fact, alarming deltas exist between the requirements developers have for a strong B2B eCommerce solution and performance in their current solution. The qualities with the largest differences between requirement and performance are: cost (56%); completeness of feature sets (55%); mobile capabilities (51%); cloud deployment capabilities and cloud readiness (50%); and breadth of integration options (43%), according to Four51.

Legacy platforms shift to cloud-based platforms, as trust in cloud-services increases

Respondents’ frustration with customisation and integration difficulties of their current platforms may be playing into the fact that comfort with cloud-services has risen sharply over the last two years, the study indicates. Trust of multi-tenancy is also rising, up from 71% two years ago to 88% today.

With increased comfort in cloud-services, B2B eCommerce developers now report plans to decrease the share of projects built on-premise and increase those developed in the cloud. In fact, the IT architects surveyed predict that 56% of their deployments will be in the cloud within two years.

Within the study, Forrester warns, “If your development shop is not comfortable with cloud economics or the cloud’s technical underpinnings, then it’s important to make it a top priority to start gathering experience sooner rather than later. Hiring developers with implementation experience is a good start, but teams should also focus on exposing in-house developers to modern principles like APIs, service consumption, and multitenancy.”

PaaS is the preferred cloud delivery model amongst developers

For development and architecture professionals, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) combines the speed and agility the business is yearning for with customisation and integration, the study finds. As such, it’s no wonder then that PaaS deployments are projected to see a steep rate of increase (14%) in their share of B2B eCommerce projects during the next two years, twice the rate of SaaS deployments.

Meanwhile, on-premises projects are slated to see the biggest decrease, with their prevalence expected to decrease by 7%, likely due to the fact that greater than 60% of developers surveyed listed “cost of maintenance” and “applying upgrades or new versions” a major or moderate issue when developing in an on-premises environment.

Developers indicate the modern environment, APIs, support for mobile, integration capabilities, security, and speed to deployment as the top reasons for choosing PaaS as their eCommerce platform of choice, the study finds. The API-first approach in particular supports custom development of user interfaces and eases integration with commercial applications.

Developers have strong influence in purchase decisions

In order for these deployments to be successful, business stakeholders are forging stronger partnerships with development and architecture professionals to ensure that development and deployment capabilities and requirements are all met.

In fact, 58% of developers surveyed say they are more involved in the eCommerce selection today than they were in the past. At customer organisations 41% of developers with increased involvement describe the extent to which their role in this decision process has changed as major.

Developers are keenly aware of the fact that not all Platforms-as-a-Service are created equal, Four51 says. They know that “successful PaaS-based B2B eCommerce depends on having the right factors in place”.

Developers want to see software development kits (SDKs), training, documentation, ongoing support services, and RDBMs integration support. It’s clearly important for businesses to support developer’s exploration of new eCommerce capabilities, Four51 says.

In the study Forrester points out that “modern solutions don’t require teams to ‘buy the battleship’.” Instead, you’re able to “let your developers experiment with modern solutions that are quick to deploy, pay-as-you-go, and highly customisable.”

When implemented properly, a PaaS-based eCommerce platform will prove itself through quick, cost-effective delivery of the special features and capabilities that developers need to deliver the modern ordering experience your customers demand, Four51 says.

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