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Does your business use Backend as a Service (BaaS)?

With many companies seeking to expand their online presence, Backend as a Service (Baas) has emerged as an option for tech companies seeking to manage the growing demand in this rapidly dynamic environment. This article looks at the features of BaaS.

Today, technology solutions are a necessity. With most companies looking to expand their online presence, tech companies are faced with the challenge of how to manage so many projects in a rapidly expanding environment.

A case in point might be the need to develop 50 different applications. This would mean that each one would need functionalities like login capabilities, data storage, and notifications. Creating a backend service is a lengthy process in terms of time and effort. Instead of creating 50 login implementations, 50 data storage implementations and 50 notification services, the option of consuming a backend as a service (BaaS) to handle those features. This means separating a chunk of the work to speed up development to allow for faster and better delivery of products, ensuring that internal and external clients remain ahead of the competition.

The beauty is that once set up, your software developers can focus their efforts on customer value-adding tasks, like user interface and client-side logic that would be connected to the backends APIs. User experience is such a crucial aspect of any online presence. It is your direct communication with clients and having a custom easy-to-use professional-looking build on the front-end will positively impact the strength of your offering. At the end of a project the most visibility and appreciation is at the frontend, but the bulk of the work done is at the backend.

BaaS can be set up to handle all the services required, such some of those mentioned previously, but also other sought after features like cloud integrations, social network integrations, geolocation services, logging, reporting, file management. It can also handle important structures such as hosting, frameworks, secure setups, GDPR compliance and so on.

Setting up the backend is a lengthy task if developed in-house and much simpler if outsourced. The decision for and against outsourcing would largely depend on the scenario.

Building one’s own BaaS, can help keep control of changes to the backend and avoid being trapped in vendor’s service offerings and costings. Building it in-house also means increased flexibility and customisations.

Alternatively, outsourcing BaaS construction to one of the many companies, could also be an interesting option. Probably the one of the strongest arguments in favour of outsourcing is the potential of cost-savings on hosting, security, compliance teams, system architect, database administrators, and back-end developers. If resources are limited with many projects in the pipeline, outsourcing BaaS construction could be what keeps your wheels turning and your clients happy. This may also be the better path to take if you are developing a single application and the above mentioned features prove to be unfeasible to custom build for a single project. Outsourcing your backend could offer you a quicker return on your investment, as well as a quicker entry to the market.

Other variations of these types of service offerings are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. IaaS Infrastructure as a service would the basic level and would aim to replace hardware such as storage and data management systems. One example is Amazon Web Service (AWS). On the other hand, a PaaS Platform is a service aimed at providing tools to streamline deployments, load balancing, and testing. SaaS Software then aims to cater for a specific task like Slack and their chat service. BaaS Backend finally is a collation of all the above and covers all functions.

Deloitte offers Firebase, which is an extensive BaaS offering by Google that includes all the above mentioned features plus many more. It is utilised for web applications as well as mobile applications.

If your application is e-commerce driven, we often recommend a separate offering called Salesforce, which aims to streamline all your sales and marketing needs to keep you close to your customers in a data-driven environment.

Finally, legacy monolithic systems are still the majority, but transforming with the increased use of BaaS technologies. Although these might not always be the best option, embarking on the BaaS route might make your project more feasible, modern and feature-rich. The right BaaS offering depends on context and budget. Luckily, there are professional services to guide you on the correct approach and set you up for success.

Here at Deloitte, we offer all the above plus many more integrations, depending on our clients’ needs.

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