That ubiquitous “cloud” has grown infinitely more fluffy and full in recent years. Businesses both large and small are realizing the power of leveraging this technology to realize greater efficiency and success. Instead of storms, the cloud is bringing strength.
What was once considered potentially risky is now remarkably reliable, and the rise of cloud computing has been dramatic, growing an estimated 18 percent in 2017 to a value of $246.8 billion worldwide. Much of the way this cloud data reaches those of us on the ground is through “as a service” delivery. Veracity was introduced to these delivery models through various CRM and CMS platforms many years ago while assisting clients. Since that time, we’ve watched this technology grow significantly and provide feature functionality well beyond those basic CRM and CMS systems.
Let’s take a closer look at these layers of cloud computing because there’s a lot going on up there.
The most common delivery model of cloud computing is also often the top layer in a cloud strategy. Software as a service (SaaS) is basically software that lives on another person’s infrastructure but accessed through a specific Web portal by the end user. Salesforce is a common example of a popular SaaS used by thousands of businesses across the country.
While it’s true that hosting your own software in-house gives you more proprietary control, SaaS offers some substantial cost savings and efficiencies that are hard to ignore. These applications are also versatile and come in a variety of forms, for everything from desktops to smartphones, all accessed through an internet connection. The vendor handles the installation and support, as well as any upgrades that need to be made—saving you time and also keeping your systems safe and up-to-date.
For many years, Veracity has assisted our clients with design and extensibility of Microsoft Dynamics, another popular and powerful SaaS. In addition to CRM, CMS and KMS systems, we’ve also been working with DXP Digital Experience Platforms such as Liferay’s DXP. Not only can this SaaS modernize almost any legacy application, these systems use simplified UI layouts, menus and low-code options. That allows businesses to retain more control and spend less time dealing with IT processes.
Our SaaS work is growing exponentially, which reflects what we’re seeing across the globe. In fact, Cisco estimates that by the end of this year, 59 percent of cloud workflows will be delivered as SaaS.
Move down to that thicker, more cumulus section of the cloud and you’ll find PaaS, or “platform as a service.” These are cloud platforms that can be used to build apps and services. Unlike many SaaS applications, which are often used by business people, PaaS users are typically developers or operations folks.
PaaS is a great solution for developers who don’t want to own and maintain their own systems for testing and production but instead want to simply rent them when they’re needed. No additional hardware is necessary, which typically means a big cost savings.
Other key benefits? PaaS requires less maintenance (that’s handled by the vendor), and it’s usually much more flexible and scalable, in terms of system capacity. That means you’re able to build applications more quickly because you’re not spending a bunch of time and money on databases and servers. You’re also able to test various technologies, operating systems, languages, etc. without having to build that necessary infrastructure.
Bob Violino expands on PaaS benefits in InfoWorld:
“The use of PaaS forces enterprise software developers to use cloud techniques in their applications, helping then adopt modern principles and take better advantage of cloud infrastructure (IaaS) platforms. Because organizations using PaaS can manage their applications and data, loss of control is not a major issue as it often is when using cloud infrastructure or applications.”
A good example of PaaS is ServiceNow, which recently won the award for best Platform‑as‑a‑Service (PaaS) at the 2017 Cloud Excellence Awards. We’re actually using ServiceNow in some work we’re doing in the government space, including custom form development and the modernization of several legacy applications. ServiceNow also allows us to run the project using Agile methodology and manage the user stories and backlog right in the platform itself.
A fine forecast
The cloud is showing us a multitude of opportunities for businesses to gain a competitive edge by tapping into “as a service” technologies. Veracity has certified development and project admin and project management resources available for the top four platforms (Salesforce, Liferay, ServiceNow and Microsoft Dynamics), and we’re ready to help you figure out what solution might be best for you.
The cloud may be growing, but we see only sunny days ahead!
Mike Talbot is vice president and chief technology officer at Veracity Consulting, a tech consulting team of problem-solvers and truth-tellers who deliver customized IT solutions for commercial and government clients across the U.S. Learn more at engageveracity.com, and share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter @engageveracity.