To understand how developers feel about technologies that support their e-commerce needs, Four51 commissioned a study by Forrester Consulting, revealing that modern developers are more involved in e-commerce solutions at their organizations. Developers believed they will be developing in Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) more so than Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), with the amount of their on-premise solutions decreasing.
Four51, a B2B e-commerce company, surveyed 150 developers in North America in three groups for this study, such as developers and architects at enterprises, consultants or agencies, and software companies or vendors that touch e-commerce.
From the perspective of Four51 CTO Steve Davis, developers are favoring cloud-hosted PaaS because it provides a much simpler and faster process. Modern APIs and integrations have made PaaS more accessible so developers can deploy their e-commerce applications to the cloud.
“[PaaS] allows you to create an interface or user experience separate from that data model so you can integrate other components into it, and other services, and then build your own to it,” said Davis. “It’s a much simpler process to get there, it’s much faster, and from a management perspective, it also removes some technological skills that are necessary for resources by not having infrastructure needs, [and] not having database management needs.”
From the survey, one reason developers are choosing PaaS is because their current e-commerce solutions are not delivering the quality that they want to see in a B2B e-commerce platform. The survey found that 64% of developers are disappointed with their legacy platforms, and the qualities with the largest differences between requirement and performance are cost (56%), completeness of feature sets (55%), mobile capabilities (51%), cloud deployment capabilities and cloud readiness (50%), and breadth of integration options (43%).
Developer frustration with legacy platforms could play a role in the increase in adopting cloud services. B2B e-commerce developers reported plans to decrease the share of projects built on-premise and to increase those projects built in the cloud, according to the survey.
On-premise deployment makes up a large share of B2B e-commerce deployments today at 28%, but cloud-based models add up to nearly double, with a combined share of 53%, according to the survey. Developers are predicting that 56% of their deployments will be in the cloud within two years, and PaaS deployments will see the biggest rate of increase at 14% in their share of B2B e-commerce.
The survey also found that on-premise solutions do not work with today’s modern budgets or timetables. Respondents who recently developed in an on-premise environment said that major issues included cost of maintenance, acquisition and implementation, along with the burden of applying new upgrades or versions. The survey also found that respondents complained about the time required to maintain, acquire, or implement on-premises solutions, as well as the issues that arise when trying to deal with internal procurement and budgeting processes.
One finding from the survey that stood out to Davis was that the primary reason developers were dissatisfied with their current on-premises or SaaS solutions was cost of maintenance. He said that maintaining an infrastructure that has every tool needed to host that kind of platform requires very disparate skill sets, which means multiple resources that are “costly to take on,” he said.
“A lot of these platforms still aren’t easy to deploy on those environments, so that was a big factor [for developers],” said Davis. “The other one is just the ongoing maintenance, which is applying upgrades or patches that they have to consider any customizations.”
One of Forrester’s recommendations was that companies doing e-commerce should support developers’ exploration of new e-commerce capabilities. Letting developers experiment with different solutions that are easy to deploy, pay-as-you-go and customizable allows them to work with agile development, and they will have more in common with modern development projects, according to the survey.