Nicola Burkhardt is a 26-year-old postgraduate student at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, attending the Master’s degree program in Information-, Media-, and Technology Management (IMT). His research focus is cloud computing. At the same time, he is member of the board of managers of Shirtex LLC, a company specialized in the processing of textiles. He is responsible for all financial concerns and the internal IT system. He spends his leisure time with kite surfing, snowboarding or in the gym.
Nicola used Sawtooth Software’s ACBC module to write his master thesis at the University of St.Gallen. The goal of the paper, which was written in the context of the 4CaaSt research project , was to identify the most important characteristics and features of on-demand platform solutions from the perspective of business customers and software developers by questioning representatives of companies within the information industry.
Research Goals and Findings
Cloud computing is an emerging IT paradigm with several different service models. The provision of an on-demand platform by an external provider, including the entire (hardware) infrastructure, as well as programming languages and tools necessary to develop business applications and services over the internet, is called “Platform-asa-Service (PaaS)”. Since the market for PaaS solutions is still immature but rapidly growing, it offers great opportunities for the introduction of innovative solutions.
Due to the wide variety of approaches to PaaS and the absence of a formula that represents the drivers of successful platforms, the goal of this paper is to identify the most important characteristics and features of on-demand platform solutions from the perspective of business customers and software developers by questioning representatives of companies within the information industry utilizing the technique of the adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis.
The results of the survey confirm that the technical aspects of PaaS solutions are critical, indicating that the mass market will adopt them only after certain technical obstacles have been removed: According to the participants of the study, availability of at least 95%, fully automated scalability, standardized APIs, high security standards and access control, backup and disaster recovery, a sophisticated development environment, easy migration among providers and a reliable test environment are the conditions for market success. Other attributes, such as monitoring, mobile device access via apps, community features, pricing models, marketplace functionalities, the handling of the payment or the market penetration, might affect customers’ preferences regarding PaaS to a certain degree as well, but since their implementation in an on-demand platform solution involves not only benefits to customers but also costs to the provider, their implementation should depend on the targeted customer segment of the solution.