In the last 12 months the adoption of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has increased dramatically and it is now one of the fastest growing areas of all the cloud computing services. Gartner estimates a steep rise in PaaS adoption and forecasts an increase in spending to more than $2.9 billion by 2016.

By 2016, Gartner estimates that every organisation will run some or all of its business software on public or private PaaS. IDC also expects a sharp uptake, estimating that the worldwide PaaS market is set to increase to more than $14 billion by 2017 as organisations look to speed up application development and decrease infrastructure costs.

Whatever analyst statistics are used to gauge the growth and uptake of PaaS, there is no doubt that PaaS adoption is set to significantly increase in 2014. So why is this?

Today, there are compelling economics around PaaS offerings. Not only does PaaS allow IT teams to do much more with what they have; it also significantly reduces development time. Add to this the fact that the market is now maturing and you can start to see why organisations are seeking out PaaS options.

It is well documented that PaaS offerings facilitate the deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software stacks, however, the real benefits extend way beyond the low initial start-up costs, PaaS can really enhance the overall development process. Here are five ways that PaaS does this:

  1.  Faster Access To Infrastructure

In a non-PaaS environment, the time to provision machines can sometimes take up to three months, which delays ROI and kills business agility. PaaS is the fastest way to build and deploy enterprise applications, enabling organisations to gets results in days, supercharging the application development environment.

  1.  Greater Scalability

Sometimes physical scalability (compute, storage, memory) and logical scalability (load balancers, databases, middleware, front-end) are difficult to provision in a traditional datacentre set up. PaaS automates and accelerates this process to enable real elasticity and scalability.

  1.  Faster Time To Release & Iterate

Automating the activities outside of design and development yields can significantly speed op software release cycles. This, coupled with reducing developer cycle time from requirement to release, is a powerful productivity multiplier. PaaS solutions remove otherwise oppressive but common concerns like versioning, multi-stage promotion, feedback capture, and performance instrumentation. This enables developers, IT, and business users to collaborate and iterate with impressive quality and speed.

  1.  Higher Availability

Cloud enables developers to easily create solutions with high-availability, which are typically difficult to provision and design on-premises. PaaS is also the perfect way for application developers to respond to new service and change requests from the business without breaking the bank.

  1.  Increased Efficiency

With reliable automation and abstraction built in to many PaaS solutions, IT staff are released from time-consuming tasks allowing them to focus on high-value activities. Developers, unencumbered by the tasks they weren’t happy doing, are more motivated, creative, and fast. Business users, now thrilled with newfound agility, are happier and more engaged with the process.

Different PaaS offerings will be better suited to different enterprise requirements. Therefore, before going down the PaaS route, organisations really need to understand what is driving them to the cloud, otherwise the benefits realised might not meet expectations. That said, there is no doubt that it makes more and more sense for enterprises to investigate the advantages of using PaaS in 2014.