There are a number of the Cloud Application Platforms out there. And, that makes the life of CIO difficult in choosing the right PaaS for his enterprise. A logical approach would be to look at key enterprise needs and motivations.
Unlike a software vendor, an end-user company i.e. an enterprise is not in the business of making money through software. Enterprises make money from their core business, like making cars, selling insurance, digging for oil, etc. For enterprises software is an enabler - a means to an end. Software is a way to make their business effective and efficient to compete against their competition. That's where it stops. This is true for 80% of the enterprises. I am ignoring the outliers and putting them into the 20% bucket. For enterprises - software is context not core.
Given this background of enterprise need and motivation, the key evaluation criteria when they are transitioning from pre-cloud app servers, web servers, various middle-wares to native cloud based application platforms should be :
a) Choosing Productivity over Control : For Enterprises productivity and time to market is more important than letting go some amount of control. They have always done this in the past and there is no reason not to do that in choosing the right cloud application platform.
b) Choosing Abstraction over Granularity : The IT skill set in the enterprise is not comparable to that of "Engineering Skill Set" that exists in an ISV environment for managing fine grained assembly of platform components. In pre-cloud there was no choice of a pre-built stack for CIOs and there in no excuse for not choosing one now!
c) Choosing Modeling Over Nuts and Bolts Programming: Fundamentally, enterprises are about dashboard and not about log files. They are about WYSWYG / drag drop not source code. Yes, I do agree that, there has to be some programming flexibility for creating extensions. And, the Visual PaaS Platforms do provide that.
Verdict: As the graphic illustration suggests - for majority of the use cases, enterprises are better off with Visual PaaS platforms rather than programming platforms.