As much as I appreciate the elegance of PaaS, the crucial question for entrepreneurial developers is whether something like actually represents a compelling opportunity to

  • deliver capability to customers
  • at an attractive price
  • with a satisfactory return to the developer

Now that the blogstorm from Dreamforce Europe has somewhat calmed, I’d therefore like to shine the spotlight on perhaps the single most important commentary coming out of that event: Phil Wainewright’s May 13 blog post, "CODA2Go and the economics of PaaS", in which he narrates a conversation with CEO Jeremy Roche of UK-based CODA plc — whose CODA 2go, built entirely on, provides broad-spectrum financials in a package that Roche expects to "do for finance what has done for CRM."

Wainewright’s conversation with Roche established two key points:

  • CODA saved a huge amount of time and development effort by using someone else’s infrastructure and API foundation to deliver its on-demand product
  • CODA’s recurring costs were comparable to what it would have cost to deliver the same things with CODA-owned infrastructure, but the approach combined far lower up-front investment with much more rapid time to market

When these key issues are demonstrably addressed, and when the package of Development as a Service is giving developers a complete solution to their needs for capability and productivity, it seems as if it’s clearly time for PaaS to be the model of first resort for new projects.

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