Over the course of 2020, the technology conversations I have engaged in have changed dramatically. What began as an overarching sense of being constantly bombarded with technology has evolved to more creative, open, and futuristic dialogues. Agencies are now imagining not that technology will run their firms for them, but just how creative they can get in implementing technology that will reflect their culture and catapult them into the future. 

I love the quote by Computer Scientist Alan Kay, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” That seems to be what agencies are embracing, and I for one am HERE. FOR. IT. 

So, what have I spent my time during the pandemic voraciously researching? Well, the future, plain and simple, and I believe that the more technology there is, the more technology will be demanded. 

As you look into your crystal ball for your tech stack plans for 2021, there are big questions to consider. Chief among them are what is PaaS vs SaaS and why should you even be considering it? 

Crystal ball by Drew Beamer via Unsplash

SaaS, or software as a service, allows you to layer and integrate software you can access over the internet. It’s reliable and configurable and doesn’t require any sort of real technical infrastructure within your organization to deliver. But–there is always a but, isn’t there? For those of you with the desire for more, more, more, SaaS has its limitations. For one, over customization. Remember, all day long with SaaS it is configuration over customization that will yield optimal results…but what if you want to customize? What if you have the resource to innovate? 

Enter the case for PaaS, or platform as a service. By definition and in summation, PaaS is used for applications, development, and provides cloud components to software. What developers gain with PaaS is a framework they can build upon to develop, configure, or customise applications. PaaS makes the development, testing, and deployment of applications quick, simple, and cost-effective. Developers, however, manage the applications within the platform. But with PaaS, there are also options out there that are already built for you, on top of PaaS, where you get the ease-of-use of SaaS but with the extensibility of PaaS. This means the ultimate control over your technical future lies with you. 

Still not convinced you should consider PaaS? Just take a look at some of the amazing new technologies emerging from the Salesforce platform. Configurability, extensibility, long-term expansion and compatibility…all are areas where PaaS sets the new standard.

So as a business, what questions should you ask when considering these two paths for 2021? It’s pretty simple – there are three key things at the top of the list: 

  1. Budget – while in the long run PaaS can be less expensive, biting off the initial cost is larger than “piecemealing” SaaS. There is a HUGE misconception that SaaS is cheaper – it isn’t. It just comes in smaller doses, which may be more palatable for the smaller organizations. 
  2. Support – do you have developers that can help you configure, expand, and continue to innovate? If the answer is no, PaaS is not necessarily for you, UNLESS you want to engage a 3rd party (and there are SO many talented systems integrators for PaaS). Or you just want to benefit from products already built onto PaaS–like Sirenum.
  3. The long game – are you looking for immediate advancements? What’s your timeframe? While SaaS can come together relatively quickly (when used out of the box), I feel PaaS is a more deliberately paced effort.