Cloud computing is increasingly powering the online capabilities of brands to attract, engage and serve customers. For developers, the power of the cloud can be akin to unlocking Narnia. But not all clouds are created equal.
Customer expectations have never been higher thanks to the evolution of digital channels. Digital now encompasses wearables, smart TVs, mobile, web and proximity experiences. The rise of the Internet of Things adds both opportunity and complexity in the challenge to engage and retain customers.
Through these expanded channels, brands must continue to innovate in order to deliver experiences that are relevant, personalised and in context.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS), where companies use fully functional applications on-demand from a centralised network service, is starting to outperform traditional software product delivery, and the market is expected to exceed $112.8 billion by 2019 (IDC, 2015).
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That’s propelled organisations to move away from on-premise hosting to the cloud through infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). This provides the servers, storage and connectivity required to run cloud-based applications, and businesses build their own orchestration layer – comprising security, monitoring, toolsets and support – atop of IaaS, to power the cloud environment. This framework has given developers greater freedom to connect all the systems required to power great customer experiences.
IaaS has removed the burdens of hardware management from the development team, but all of the challenges associated with building a software stack that fuel digital experience delivery remain.
Cloud platforms with pre-configured software stacks take the advantage of the cloud to a new level and free developers to focus more squarely on mission critical projects.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) includes a built-in orchestration layer and provides a comprehensive environment where developers test, deploy and maintain sites and applications.
PaaS can free organisations from ‘managing’ the infrastructure, so that they can start developing from day one. The vital elements – CMS, orchestration components and the infrastructure – are already connected.
Tools within the platform automate much of the monitoring and troubleshooting of existing websites and speed up the process of building, testing and deploying new sites. This speed allows brands to innovate faster, which is the most important differentiator for cloud-based CMS.
Today, an efficient development process allows brands to respond quickly to change, so they keep pace with both customer behaviour and emerging channels.
Developers are increasingly turning to cloud environments because it delivers speed and agility they’ve not been able to experience so far.
According to a recent survey from VisionMobile’s recent survey, cloud application development has a higher proportion of professional developers (64%) compared with 51% for desktop. Cloud environments are changing and enhancing the way that applications are developed.
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Web and mobile apps defined the first wave of cloud adoption, according to Forrester. The data and analytics that will make customer experiences more personal will drive the next wave of adoption. As businesses seek to engage with their customers on new levels, they will invest in data optimisation, transactional systems, analytics and insight systems.
Developers can work on applications that produce better insights and new campaigns that respond quickly both to business and consumer demand.
From the development side, PaaS can help organisations develop increasingly sophisticated architectures that support brand advancement, making better use of skills and manpower.
What can make PaaS and other cloud environments attractive to business owners and decisions makers is the lower total cost of ownership and a subscription-based model, which becomes an operating expense rather than a capital investment.
The need for organisations to be innovative and flexible is fuelling the steady growth of PaaS. The increased adoption of PaaS will empower brands to better engage with their customers and keep pace with market change.
Sourced from Martyn Eley, VP EMEA, Acquia