May 12, 2016, 2:58 PM

PaaS beats SaaS among B2B e-commerce software developers

Designed for highly customized suites of software, platform-as-a-service scored high marks in a recent study by Forrester Consulting.

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When companies deploy e-commerce software to sell stuff online to other businesses, they want to be able to customize that software to connect with buyers anyway their buyers want.

And as companies opt for cloud-based software, more often than not they prefer the cloud-based option known as platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS, Forrester Consulting says in a new study.

“The rate of increase in planned PaaS-based deployments over the next two years is twice that of the increase in planned SaaS-based deployments,” Forrester says in the study report. Forrester based the study on a March 2016 survey of 154 software development professionals in the United States; it produced the study on behalf of Four51, a provider of e-commerce software designed for PaaS deployments. Four51 announced the study this week at the B2B Online conference in Chicago.

SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is the software deployment model, widely used for years, that lets client companies access software hosted on a vendor’s Internet server through a web browser, freeing the user from running the software on its own infrastructure.

PaaS also involves using Internet-based software accessed via a browser, but it takes the SaaS model a big step further. The components of PaaS software suites are designed with application programming interfaces, or APIs, intended to enable a user’s software developers to more easily and quickly integrate multiple software applications. The idea is to provide highly customized applications for a company’s particular needs. For example: a manufacturer of cosmetics that builds a mobile application specifically for salon operators to order products. An API is a set of software instructions designed to get disparate software applications to integrate and share data.

The Forrester study found the following percentages of software developers at companies involved in selling products through B2B e-commerce said they were “completely comfortable” developing e-commerce software systems in PaaS and SaaS models:

● Platform-as-a-Service, 66%

● Software-as-a-Service, 50%

The following percentages of software developers involved in developing B2B e-commerce and order management applications cited the following among their top three reasons for developing software in a PaaS environment:

● More modern development and APIs, 45%

● Better support for mobile devices, 41%

● Improved data security, 30%

● Faster rollout of new capabilities, 39%

● Lower cost of maintaining application infrastructure, 31%

● Executive pressure to move into cloud-hosted systems, 31%

● Easier to customize, 28%

● Easier updates to new versions and product features, 27%

● Shifting capital expense to operating expense, 18%

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a twice-weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web— Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow Paul Demery, editor for B2B e-commerce, on Twitter @pdemery.

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