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Why the election should have you thinking about aPaaS

There’s an idea consistently being trumpeted on both sides of the election fence this year: shaking up the old established ways of politics and making a change. Whether or not you think that idea is scary, and unless poll numbers lie, you have to admit that people like it. So here’s an idea, developers: What happens if that same ideology is brought to the enterprise?

Today there are plenty of free tools and platforms available to make enterprise-grade apps, that a small pharmaceutical supply chain management company called AntTail was able to create a working, fully mobile business application prototype in days without spending a dime. The provider they leveraged, Mendix, is just one of the companies offering free sandboxing with their application- platform-as-a-service (aPaaS). OutSystems and IBM’s Simplicite are some others who let developers try their aPaaS tools without incurring any costs.

So for any company running, say, an old ESB or utilizing an expensive EDI-based VAN, what’s stopping a developer from throwing up his hands, saying “stop!” and presenting their boss with a working proof-of-concept application that does everything their old, monolithic systems just as effectively – if not better? And maybe – just maybe – that change could be enough to break the established, legacy ways of doing things within an organization and inject a new, more efficient approach to software management.

This does require the developer to take a little bit of a leap of faith when confronting their respective boss with their prototype software, and there certainly can be a lot at stake. What if it works in a small environment, but doesn’t translate so well to large environment? What if the service fails after implementation? What if a major security vulnerability is created?

This may be the thought process that keeps developers from kicking up too much dust, according to Mark Roemers, co-founder of AntTail, who admits that there is certainly a risk factor that should always be taken into consideration.

“People want to make sure they don’t make the wrong decision instead of being ambitious and going for goals,” said Roemers. “They’re risk averse, and I don’t blame them — it takes a certain spirit to be able to do that.”

However, there may not be much to lose by just making your own prototypes with a free aPaaS sandbox anyway. At the very least, you have the blueprints ready when the opportunity to present your idea arises or if you want to jump ship and start your own company. At best, you become the change your enterprise really needs.