Tackling Big Data: Pass the PaaS to SMBs
Companies of all sizes awash in tides of “Big Data” are looking for any edge they can find in gaining the ability to effectively sift through and analyze exponential volumes of information to pull out insights that will actually make their business more competitive. But for SMBs, the Big Data challenge is especially….well, “big” is probably the best way to describe it.
A relatively new form of cloud computing, Platform as a Service (PaaS), is emerging as a means of companies tackling the Big Data problem by speeding up the pace of innovative application and product development in the face of seemingly endless feedback. And a study from IBM on how and why IT decision-makers are adopting PaaS demonstrates some of the specific value it can deliver to SMBs.
Cloud-based Standardization for Differentiation
As reported by IBM, PaaS offers a foundation of common application services, tools and templates for businesses to rent and build their own software applications quickly and deploy them into an automated environment. PaaS allows organizations to standardize their IT platform and quickly introduce new competitive offerings.
The IBM PaaS study found that 49 percent of IT decision-makers see the strategic importance of PaaS as a way to drive innovation and improve the whole application lifecycle across the enterprise. In addition, study data indicates that many IT decision-makers are contemplating using PaaS as a pragmatic approach to future expansion and believe PaaS can drive greater differentiation and strategic impact for a business by standardizing efforts for development, deployment, production and maintenance.
In particular, the study finds that PaaS early adopters (16 percent of 1,500 global IT decision-makers who responded) say that access to tested “patterns” – which leverage both human expertise and data to create a template for complex tasks common to many development efforts – differentiates the unique value of PaaS from other cloud alternatives.
The SMB Angle
PaaS offers companies trying to develop technology and products in the face of an overload of social conversations, mobile data, customer behavioral data, etc. (i.e., Big Data) a way to use data-based templates to obtain speed and accuracy without sacrificing the value Big Data can provide. For SMBs who are almost certain to lack the technological resources or institutional knowhow to effectively manage and integrate Big Data in their operations, this is an especially valuable service. SMBs also must rely on innovation to remain competitive in the face of larger competitors that can more easily and rapidly bring products to market, making PaaS’ potential as an innovation driver even more relevant to SMB users. So MSPs with SMB clients should consider developing a PaaS service and passing along the big benefits of PaaS to smaller organizations.