Trends of search terms from user accounts and topics of their inquiries form the catalyst of research agendas in many IT advisory firms. At Gartner these two factors and others like them are commonly regarded as leading indicators of future IT spending.
Gartner has been delivering short analyses of these subject areas to clients in the form of reports, with the latest being Search Analytics Trends: Platform as a Service published on June 9, 2011. This report covers user search activity from April, 2009 to March, 2011. For purposes of the report, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is defined as cloud application infrastructure services delivered as a service. Gartner makes the point that PaaS includes no traditional software license and is expensed on a metered or utility basis. Presented below is the time series of searches by month from the report.
A few key take-aways emerge from the report, and they are presented below:
- Cloud Middleware Services including Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are still unknown to many Gartner IT user clients. As a result this area is seen with skepticism by many of their clients. In studies of PaaS adoption from other analysts at Gartner and Forrester, it is evident that internal software development will make or break the credibility of PaaS initiatives for the long-term.
- When Gartner IT users search for PaaS on the website and throughout online research, the four most common secondary terms are IaaS and SaaS (7.05%), Magic Quadrant (6.12%) and cloud (5.72%). Clearly Gartner IT user clients are looking to define their own technology stack in this area and looking for a framework of reference of where PaaS fits into their own IT plans and architectures. The competitive intensity across the analyst community will most likely go up as a result of the uncertainty many IT buyers have over PaaS.
- The top three vendors that Gartner IT users search for are Microsoft (18%), Amazon (13%) and Tata (11%). Additional vendors include IBM (11%), Salesforce.com (11%), SAP (7%), Google and Oracle (4%).
Bottom line: The key to PaaS adoption in larger enterprises, many of which are IT user clients of Gartner, is how successfully Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) clarify their value proposition and how their apps add value to the platform layer.