- 9 September, 2020
- Article - New Technology
The early days of software tooling for businesses were quite unlike what we’re used to now. Decades ago, practically everything was custom-built because it needed to be. Packaged solutions weren’t on the market, and this custom technology is set at the core of most systems today and still performing well.
All of this custom software had one glaring problem, which was driving up costs and making maintenance a nightmare for our IT teams: integration.
When one custom application needed to integrate to another, share data, or participate in a workflow, that integration needed to be custom too. With enough time, the number of custom integrations quickly created a mess of crossed lines and complex dependencies.
We have always wanted total control over what we offer our customers, users and systems by way of functionality. We’ve also always wanted the tidier, bespoke nature of systems which do just what we want them to – and nothing more. This came with a mess of expensive integration tucked just out of sight.
This created a pressure gap in the market, as software had become more advanced and readily available, out-the-box solutions gained preference due to the convenience, faster time-to-market, and lower costs associated with them.
However, this is starting to change once again.
Enter platform-as-a-service (PaaS). PaaS is a category of cloud computing services that allows users to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure associated with running applications.
PaaS gives you the opportunity to create a unique customer experience for users, without most of the disadvantages of wiring everything together. This suddenly makes custom development more cost-effective.
Packaged solutions still have their place in technology landscapes. You would very rarely rebuild an HR or payroll system, because they’re standard for most organisations and don’t need any unique functionalities.
But for more functional systems, such as pricing and quoting, customer-facing products and services (like your digital channels), and specialised workflows, custom-built is once again the more sensible route. In financial services, big names who have been winning customers over in the last few years, are those who have been creating innovative digital channels. Leveraging a PaaS approach provides the necessary flexibility and versatility to support such innovation.
PaaS eliminates the need to build the fundamentals for applications from scratch. With back-end infrastructure standardised and consistent for an entire ecosystem, it offers your in-house development team new capabilities, without the need to hire specialised staff (usually on legacy frameworks and languages) or outsource activities.
This all contributes to reducing the costs normally associated with custom development. Cost savings are a nice bonus when building custom solutions, but fundamentally, enterprise PaaS is about exploiting a competitive advantage through leveraging the consistent infrastructure and integration strategy presented.
Thanks to the maturing of cloud-based platforms. Custom is now not only cost-effective for a broad range of applications once again, but also provides enterprises with more control over user experience, functionality and timing. Custom has been reignited and is here to stay, and will most likely expand even more in the years to come to take back more of the market share lost over the past two decades.