It’s Time for Enterprises to Stop Distracting their Developers

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Organizations often have trouble distinguishing between the part of the logic that enable a business to truly differentiate itself and the underlying substrate on which that logic depends to execute. The result is an organization winds up hiring or contracting developers that spend most of their time supporting infrastructure rather than building the applications the business needs. In fact, any time there is a significant backlog of applications waiting to be developed, updated or deployed, chances are good that developers are spending way too much time and effort on a platform that requires a massive amount of manual effort to build, deploy, maintain and ultimately secure applications.

Most developers want to be able to bend platforms to their individual will. But that desire for maximum flexibility often comes at a significant cost to the business. Every application that doesn’t get rolled out in a timely manner represents either a missed opportunity to increase productivity or, in the age of digital business, an actual loss of potential revenue.

The Key Benefits of PaaS

Developers might be excited about employing a framework such as Kubernetes as the latest shiny new platform for build and deploying applications. But Kubernetes clusters are both challenging to set up and costly to manage on an ongoing basis. Every minute a developer spends managing Kubernetes is one less minute they are spending on developing the business logic that provides real value for the organization.

In sharp contrast, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment allows developers to focus all their time on coding business logic. The PaaS environment provides a higher level of abstraction through which everything, from setting up test environments to deploying applications in a production environment, is automated. Developers can still build applications using microservices that are constructed using a container-based architecture – they just don’t need to incur nearly as much management overhead. Developer productivity in a PaaS environment is exponentially higher because all the underlying infrastructure no longer gets in the way of building the business logic that really matters.

Revisiting The Flexibility Debate

These days they say every company is a software company that happens to deliver something. Whether it’s automobile manufacturers or providers of a food service, the customer experience is increasingly being defined by software. A software company that spends all their time maintaining the scaffolding on which their applications run is going to have fewer opportunities to deliver applications that delight their customers. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many developers an organization can afford to hire. The laws of physics are never completely suspended. But a PaaS environment that automates the tasks associated with building and deploying software can come close to bending those laws in favor of the business. The goal is to make software bend to the needs of the business versus the other way around. Developers spend so much time on the care and feeding of lower level infrastructure to the detriment of being able to deliver applications.

Everyone, of course, wants the IT environment to be flexible. The important thing to remember is that a PaaS abstracts away most of the underlying IT infrastructure complexity. That in turn makes the business, rather than just an individual developer, more agile. Developers are always going to be attracted to the latest hot technology to come down the pike, and eager to start experimenting with it. But a little balance on the part of the business is usually warranted, so the organization can ensure that their developers stay focused on the immediate needs of the business.

Eyes on the Prize: Customer Satisfaction & Business Growth

Every enterprise has its own unique set of circumstances. There may be a few scenarios where a DIY approach to building a custom application development and deployment framework makes sense. But most organizations are going to be better served by a more prescriptive approach to building applications that relies on a PaaS environment that automates the management of infrastructure, application deployments, maintenance, security updates, service levels, availability, resource consumption and scaling. Enterprises’ IT organizations need to have an honest conversation with themselves concerning the resources at hand before considering any DIY approach. Once that conversation is had, most enterprise IT organizations will quickly conclude a DIY platform often winds up distracting their developers from delivering on their primary mission: writing killer code that creates a truly differentiated customer experience that drives the business forward.

About the Author

Kieron-Sambrook Smith is Chief Commercial Officer for, a rapidly-growing Platform as a Service (SaaS) provider, and leads’s customer acquisition and growth efforts on a global scale. Kieron is a serial entrepreneur with extensive C-level experience, especially leading sales and marketing teams, and has helped create hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value for a wide variety of high tech software companies, including several start-ups, turnarounds and SaaS scale-ups.


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