Today, companies are facing supply chain challenges that are becoming harder to overcome: globalization, increasing organizational complexity, mobile and distributed workforces, connection to Internet of Things (IoT) data and end-to-end multi-enterprise supply chains. These challenges require organizations to have high end-to-end visibility thanks to dedicated solutions that provide analyzes, reports, plans, and optimizations, to ensure that the workforce can focus on the company’s core activity and added value. This is why companies turn to what we call “the Cloud”.
But what is the Cloud exactly? Many specifications are hidden behind that word, but generally, Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on shared computing resources rather than having local servers or handle applications. But if you go into this topic deeper, you will discover a number of acronyms like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service). These define the level of externalization of computer software. Typically, IaaS corresponds to the lowest level of services provided and includes just the hardware, like servers. PaaS includes, in addition to an operating system, a development environment for a given application, without having to actually maintain the platform. Finally, SaaS, the highest level of externalization, provides the software and all of the associated services.
This being said, what is the level of externalization that is best for a specific organization? What should the organization consider to decide on whether they should go for IaaS, PaaS or SaaS?
Typically, when you decide that you do not want to pay for costs linked to buying hardware and maintaining it, it is recommended that you choose IaaS. If you want to go a bit further and need the agility of an outsourced platform so your developers can focus on building, testing and iterating their application, then the choice should be PaaS. Finally, SaaS provides in the application itself with all of the associated services where you will get technical support, free updates, and a monthly or annual subscription (so you can cancel at any time).
As you can see, it all depends on the organization’s requirements. In fact, today, 28% of the French companies in the cloud use IaaS, 11% PaaS and 80% SaaS. Also, it is interesting to note that many SaaS products are built by companies who utilize IaaS or PaaS, although that’s not always the way.
In any case, support for your core activity should be the main argument to move to the Cloud. The rest depends on your business model and the level of externalization that is best for your organization.