Over the last decade IT has been steadily moving out of the “ivory tower” toward a decentralized model that encourages direct alignment with the business. Business leaders, frustrated by having to fight for scarce resources and competing priorities, sought direct access to technology. SaaS emerged to meet this demand and while it’s been largely a success story, SaaS didn’t adequately address the need for mass-customization. Inspired by the benefits of direct control over IT, business wanted the ability to shape these solutions around their specific business requirements without going back to software development for support. Market leaders like SalesForce.com responded with tools that allow power-users limited ability to customize their solution but it wasn’t enough. To meet the demand for mass-customization, SalesForce.com opened up their platform to developers through API’s. While the mass-customization problem has been solved, another has been created – business is still dependent on IT. This “hybrid” model has simply shifted software development out of the ivory tower to external resources.
The ugly truth is that software development will never keep pace with business, but software can – by removing the developer from the equation and giving business the ability to build applications directly. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) fills this demand with an end-to-end solution stack that provides application tools, a runtime environment and infrastructure.