A few weeks ago we visited the code.talks commerce special in Berlin, a two-day event dedicated to the latest developments in commerce technology (see our recaps of day 1 and day 2). One of the highlights was the panel discussion "SaaS vs Paas vs Self-hosted" with Dirk Hörig (commercetools), Ulrike Müller (NewStore), Stefan Schmidt (SAP Hybris), Marc Korthaus (SysEleven), and Boris Lokschin (Spryker Systems). A video recording of this discussion was recorded and put on Youtube recently:
As the discussion was held in German, here's an outline of the most important points in English.
After a quick introduction, the discussion started with the question which added value the products/technologies represented on stage could provide to the clients. First, a benefit of an as-a-Service approach was mentioned: merchants can focus on their core competence - ie. merchandizing their products - and hand over infastructure maintenance and technical complexity to the platform specialists. Also, depending on company size and business model, a Cloud model can increase time to market.
On the other hand, a SaaS model relies on a high degree of standardization, so that clients with individual requirements may be better off with a on-premise solution that they can fully adapt to their needs. Also, with an increasing degree of sophistication in the commerce world, retailers might find that they need to increase their own tech know-how and turn it into a new core competence.
Then, panellists talked discussed how they deal with data security concerns regarding Cloud solutions. Currently, there is no major European Cloud provider, so merchants need to adapt their strategies accordingly.
The panel ended with a view on what to expect in the next years: in the Enterprise segment, we will see a shift away from static monoliths towards a services architecture, to be able to stay agile and quickly react to changing market conditions. It's already true that large commerce websites aren't driven by one packaged solution but a range of distributed services, such as payment, search, recommentation etc. - and this trend will become stronger.
Dr. Roman Zenner works as an Industry Analyst & Content Writer for commercetools. He watches the commerce solutions market and writes white papers and articles about current retail topics.