The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - Part 3: Platform-as-a-Service
Building new apps can be painful. Currently, if you want to build an app on legacy systems it can take 6-12 months to go through a painstaking process where, once you have the idea, you then need to buy and set-up hardware, install software, define user access, set up reporting and analytics, build and test security, make it mobile and social, etc. etc. and then you get to build and release the app. This can all be too much for some people (I recently spoke with a CMO who said “I need an app; I don’t care what it does, I just need an app”).
With platform-as-a-service (PaaS) all of this stuff comes out of the box. You have the idea, then you develop software using the tools of a particular cloud provider, who also provides the networks, servers and storage to host the software, and you get your idea out there in weeks not months. Also, because it is in the cloud, it will be accessible on any device, it will also benefit from automatic upgrades and enhancements etc.
For example, here are a few real-life projects we have done at Fronde, using the Force.com platform, which all took less that 6 weeks to deliver:
- Air BP ‘text for fuel’ app that enables pilots at Auckland airport to quickly order fuel of the right type and amount directly from the field staff, improving the efficiency of this process.
- Fisher & Paykel app to survey and test retailers on the product training they have received to identify training gaps and help to ensure a quality experience for consumers.
- Access Home Health app to handle new incoming client requests (ACC referrals) for service and then manage these through third party providers.
Admittedly, these are all examples of business apps made for employees or partners, rather than mass market consumers, and this is where the stronger use cases are currently for PaaS. Indeed, we are seeing the quickest growth in PaaS coming from the development of ‘edge apps’ to address process gaps in the business where PaaS is ideally suited to grab data from clunky back end systems and make it useful, and mobile, and do this as a quick-win. However, the use cases for consumer apps are growing and it is surely only a matter of time until PaaS fills this space.
What can PaaS mean to communicators?
- Connect everything, make it mobile
- Make your idea a reality in weeks, not months
- Let someone else look after the technology - you create without the constraints