SM: Yes and no. How much of this what we call bootstrapping, using platform-as-a-service, a SaaS platform, I guess, do you see happening in small startups?
PR: We’re seeing a lot of them. What’s happening is the new companies that are coming right now, the companies that are starting up are starting with such low overhead costs and infrastructure. The difference between the startup costs in the past versus what you see now is fundamentally the cost of infrastructure and platforms that were very heavy in the past. Tools, all of the things that you required to build an application at scale, the need for billing systems, metering systems, integration with credit cards, a whole bunch of things that were very complicated and required large teams of people, large infrastructure, have fundamentally been disrupted with the platform-as-a-service. So, we can … we’re seeing a lot of that in the Microsoft eco-system right now.
SM: Interesting. Tell us more about what you’re seeing in the enterprise. Obviously, we see a variety of different trends in the enterprise. We’re seeing a heavier adoption of public cloud offerings. We’re seeing quite a bit of adoption of private cloud offerings, and we’re seeing hybrid clouds. What kinds of applications, what kinds of areas of the enterprise are you seeing platform-as-a-service adoption?
PR: In the enterprise, the primary driver … it depends. I’ll give you high-level answer and then get down into specifics. I think a lot is dependent on the vision of an organization. Some companies look at this as a fundamental disruption in the way that technology is going to change cost models. Their adoption paradigm is very different from others who look at this and say how do I adapt to this change, and what am I supposed to do? So, the companies that have come at it with cost reduction as a driver are basically saying, hey, I don’t want to buy anymore new hardware. So, companies like insurance and utilities, you see a lot of that kind of stuff going on. When you go down to companies in the health care space, it’s really around the speed to implement and driving operational efficiency including governments, how e-governance is being used across the states and in various areas. There are others that are looking at what I call time-to-market and agility. In the retail and the banking spaces, they’re saying, how do I get more agile with my mobile, with my strategies around reaching out to consumers, we’re seeing that kind of change happening.
So, it really is a question of what kinds of drivers you see in an enterprise that’s going to use these services. Platform-as-a-service is not like a product. It’s a collection of services … that you can use to say, I want to use this for birth; I want to use this for scale; I want to use this for computation; I want to use this to reduce costs. As you translate it back to enterprise benefits it’s one of those three. One is either a time-to-market or time-to-implement, more in the case of enterprises, it’s time-to-implement, which is really around how fast, what is the agility that I can get by using the cloud? I talked about retail, banking, government, health care. Those are areas where you can see something like that.
The second is around cost. How do I bring down my capital expense? Why do I need to provision x hundred servers for every new app other than using a public infrastructure like cloud? And then finally, it’s about changing business conditions, you know changing silos in industries, which basically, is about flexibility in the way they [work] with new devices, networks, which we see in wholesale, transportation and those types of areas.
So, I basically, narrowed it down to those three: time-to-implement, cost and flexibility. Those are the three fundamental drivers in enterprises. There are different industries that are adopting at different phases, depending on the vision of the CIO, the vision of the CEO.