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PaaS Crossing the Chasm But Not as Expected

There's something happening in the market place today that is going to push PaaS across the chasm

Many of us have spent years explaining to customers why our various versions of Platform as a Service (PaaS) are their best alternative for customization and deployment of business software applications.  Logically, there is little reason not to choose a PaaS as the core architecture for your businesses software.  However while there has been adoption, it hasn't occurred at the pace which it probably should given the magnitude of the value proposition.  This of course is the quandary called "the adoption cycle" that receives a lot of attention from authors and analysts alike.

Basically, the adoption cycle distinguishes early adopters, middle adopters and late adopters, and put's them all on a bell curve.  In technology, it is widely thought that there is a very large gap between the early adopters and the middle adopters, and for a company to actually overcome that gap is often referred to as "crossing the chasm".  Crossing the chasm is a mission critical endeavor because it is the difference between success and failure for a disruptive technology...you either cross it, or you die.

There's something happening in the market place today that is going to push PaaS across the chasm, and it's going to happen quicker then most of us probably thought.  It's not a sudden influx of end-user customers, like most of us planned/hoped for.  In fact, if you look at the earlier marketing efforts of most of the high profile platforms, you will see that their messages were targeted straight at the end user.  However, if you look at the marketing efforts of the surviving PaaS companies today, you will see a common change in messaging towards a wholly new direction.  They ("we" actually) aren't doing it because of theories...theorizing is what led us to chase what may arguably have been the wrong market, the late adopters whom we have no real power to influence.  We are shifting our focus because there is a lot of activity taking place; real deals are being cut, and at an increasing pace.

It's starting to look like central IT, end users, business leaders etc. are at best middle adopters.  It's starting to look like the force that will push PaaS across the chasm is Independent Software Vendors (ISV's).  These are folks who have a business centered around a specific target market, and want to offer software to that market.  These folks have the business experience to make it work, and may or may not have a lot of technical expertise.  However what is clear is that these folks appreciate the advantages a great PaaS brings to their business, and are highly motivated to build their own offering on top of a PaaS.  Some advantages they are finding include;

  • reduced time to market
  • increased feature offering
  • ability to deliver flexibility on an individual customer basis
  • ability to sell features and functions they didn't have to build, such as email and telephony integrations
  • ability to NOT have to deal with the problems of traditional software

In short, these ISV's are finding that not having to deal with software free's them to focus on building a business...let the PaaS company build a great PaaS, and the ISV build a great business.  It's a win-win, and it's happening! 

More Stories By Treff LaPlante

Treff LaPlante has been involved with technology for nearly 20 years. At WorkXpress, he passionately drives the vision of making customized enterprise software easy, fast, and affordable.

Prior to joining WorkXpress, Treff was director of operations for eBay's HomesDirect. While there, he created strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies and national broker networks and began his foray into the development of flexible workflow software technologies. He served on the management team that sold HomesDirect to eBay.

During his time at Vivendi-Universal Interactive, Treff was director of strategy. In addition to M&A activities, Treff broadly applied quantitative management principles to sales, marketing, and product line functions. Treff served as the point person for the management team that sold Cendant Software to Vivendi-Universal. Earlier positions included product management and national sales trainer for Energy Design Systems, an engineering software company. Treff began his professional career as a metals trader for Randall Trading Corp, a commodities firm that specialized in bartering and transporting various metals and coal from the then-dissolving Soviet Union.

Treff received his MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. http://www.workxpress.com