SaaS, PaaS or IaaS - which is right for my company?

10-04-2016

Author: DSwiss

Cloud solutions are popular means to reach important company goals. They can improve their efficiency in internal processes significantly. If you consider using a cloud solution for your company, you have 3 different models to choose from. But which model is best suited for your company?

You can only find out, which cloud service is right for your business, if you understand the three main cloud models: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) und Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In the following, we summarise the advantages and disadvantages of these

Software as a service (SaaS): the classic cloud solution

From a business perspective, the main advantage of SaaS is that it completely removes the need to develop / set up an own solution. It consequently reduces demand for internal resources, time and budget, which would be needed to build, run and maintain an own solution. You get a ready-to-use solution and if something doesn’t work, the provider must fix it.

The disadvantage of SaaS is that users generally need to stay within the frames of the offered software. If you would like something to be customised, you need to agree on a price and timeframe with the provider – if such customisations are even offered. Moreover, your business will depend on the chosen provider to handle important business data and to work more efficiently or better serve your customers.

Therefore, you should carefully consider system requirements, do a thorough check-up of the providers, which you consider relevant and test the solution before you decide whether it is the right one for your business.

Today, SaaS is widespread in the business and consumer markets alike. Amongst famous SaaS solutions for business are the CRM system Salesforce and productivity software such as Google apps. SecureSafe is also offered as a SaaS.

Platform as a service (PaaS): develop your apps with faster time-to-market

If you do not like the idea of getting a ready-made solution, which is completely managed by an external provider, you may want to look into PaaS. PaaS allows your company to develop and manage your own application while cutting costs related to buying, installing and maintaining a platform to run that solution on.

In addition to a cost reduction, PaaS will generally make your developer team more efficient because they can start creating your new application straight away with the platform offered by PaaS. Since developers will be the end-users of the PaaS, be sure to involve them in the decision making process when choosing a PaaS solution.

On the downside of PaaS, you still give up a quite a bit of control by outsourcing the platform on which you run your new solution and store your data. Furthermore, your company needs to dedicate internal resources to develop and manage an own solution.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): capacity for system engineers

Would you like even more control over your new IT solution? Then IaaS might be a good choice for you. IaaS offers a basic infrastructure including servers and storage.

However, before an IaaS solution becomes valuable to you, you need internal system engineers to set up set up a fully functional platform on it. Once a complete platform is up and running your developers can start creating your new IT solution.

As you may gather, using an IaaS demands quite a lot of internal IT resources and insight, so you should involve your IT department in the decision making process if you decide to go with such a solution.

The main advantage of IaaS is that your IT department is largely independent in terms of how they set up your new IT solution. Furthermore, customers often pay for storage capacities on a per-use basis, typically by the hour, week or month, which allows for a very high level of flexibility. Your IT people are also more likely to experiment and test different solutions because they can flexible use more or less storage capacity to host these.

The disadvantage is that you outsource the servers on which your solutions run. Consequently, if something happens to these, your business will be affected. Moreover, with a IaaS you manage large portions of your system yourself and you need staff which is able to maintain and develop your solution according to your needs.

So what does my company need?

SaaS is relevant to you if you are looking to solve business problems through a ready-to-use software solution, which someone else will manage for you. Consult the part of business that will be the end-users of the system and let them test it before you choose a solution.

If your company decides to develop an own solution, a PaaS provider will enable your developers to get started working on a ready-made platform with no further ado. Consult your internal development team to choose the right solution.

If you don’t like the idea of outsourcing the entire platform on which your solution is hosted, consider going for a cost-efficient IaaS solution, which allows for storage-on-demand. This way you will keep the process of setting up a system architecture and developing a solution in-house. Consult your internal operations team to choose the right solutions.

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