Having been on the front lines of selling Platform as a Service (PaaS) for the past five years, I’ve seen enormous changes in the market. It has been more of a hockey stick in terms of inflection of change compared to a gradual increase in activity, with a sharp increase in the past two years.
I joined Apprenda early in its history because I was blown away by the founding team and the real change they were trying to make in the way IT and developers interacted with one another. I had experience with virtualization products early on and have seen many similarities between PaaS and virtualization sales. While the ultimate buyers may be drastically different and virtualization is a more “cut and dry” process, the resistance I was met with early on was similar.
Change is hard and not easy to accept. IT professionals rarely want to admit there may be a better way to achieve a desired outcome. Processes have been put in place with existing technologies. Contracts have been executed. Software and hardware have been installed and configured. Teams and project leaders have been trained. But unfortunately, once the dust settles, a new technology has likely been introduced to the market and it is time to start the process again.
Many times, new products do not warrant accelerating the process and making changes right away. In the last decade, though, major waves have been happening in technology. Virtualization was one. It also ushered in the supporting tech like VDI and new ways to encapsulate apps (mainly COTS). I see the DevOps movement as one that has even more legs than prior waves. PaaS is a necessary enabler of true DevOps, and it helps set the foundation for many of the tools that will help enterprise customers move in this direction.
That said, the Apprenda PaaS may have been a little early in the market. Thankfully we had the backing of several forward-thinking VCs that helped us fund R&D while the market took shape. And let me tell you, during the last 18 months, the market has definitely taken shape and enterprise PaaS is on every major company’s radar.
Three years ago I spent most of my time educating CTOs and other executives on the value of enterprise PaaS with no real plans on their end. Today we are building out ROI models and moving fast with many in-flight projects across the globe.
During this process, I’ve noticed three important trends that are now shaping the conversation and have convinced me 2016 will be the “The Year of Enterprise PaaS.” They are:
Enterprises have decided they are all in and need enterprise PaaS now. I’ve had many first meetings where there is already an allocated budget for the project; that is in stark contrast to three years ago. Any such line items were few and far between. If there was any budget at all, it had to be pulled from other cloud projects.
We have seen at least one RFI or RFP every week since the start of 2016. Prior to 2014, I could probably count on one hand the total amount out in the wild- they were like a sighting of Sasquatch. Enterprises are ready and they are putting resources behind this decision-making process to find the right fit for their organization.
This trend may seem to counter my claims of 2016 being huge for PaaS, but I believe it is quite the contrary. As the three main enterprise PaaS vendors (Apprenda, OpenShift, and Pivotal CF) grow in size and market share, many other indirect competitors are billing their products as PaaS. Some traditional IaaS and cloud-management vendors are marketing their product as PaaS. This is adding to the confusion many buyers are having in the decision-making process. I can’t say I blame these other vendors, but there are only three main enterprise PaaS vendors and that is that.
I am excited to be part of Apprenda and able to sell what I (and many others in the industry) view as the most complete enterprise-grade PaaS on the market. Apprenda has always been laser focused on the enterprise and our product delivers. I truly believe in our platform and my smart and motivated colleagues.
If you are looking into enterprise PaaS and haven’t taken a hard look at Apprenda, you should change that. Get in touch and let us show you the value Apprenda can deliver for your enterprise organization.