In last month’s column, The integration game, I wrote about the emerging era of services integration and platforms in the cloud.

I detailed SaaSinsure, a new play in the insurance markets, based on the integration of services drawn from two underlying platforms: the Amazon Elastic Cloud and Salesforce.

It is a year since Forrester published market forecasts through to 2020 for the public cloud.

The insight offered was that, once the initial strong growth in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) provided sufficient underlying capability, the sustained growth would be in Software as a Service (SaaS).

Thus a 2010 IaaS market of $1bn (£614m) and a PaaS market worth $0.3bn (£184m) were forecast to surge to $5.8bn (£3.56bn) and $9.8bn (£6bn) respectively by 2015, leveling out to $4.8bn (£2.94bn) and $11.9bn (£6.76bn) by 2020.

The SaaS market was set to grow from $13.4bn (£8.23bn) in 2010 to $78.4bn (£48.2bn) by 2015, powering on to $132.6bn (£81.5bn) in 2020.

Hardly surprising really. With platforms in place, the door is open for a myriad innovative ventures to create and deliver a variety of new services tuned to a diversity of market opportunities.

A window on this fast-growing world of technology-enabled business services is provided by a new report released by Intellect’s SaaS group led by David Terrar of cloud services vendor D2C.

Related:

Intellect is the UK business association for the IT, telecoms and electronics industries, and its SaaS group brings together small- to medium-sized vendors active in the SaaS space.

In 2009 it published Business case for Software as a Service, which has been followed by a set of 10 client case studies.

Taken together, the two reports provide an analytical and insightful approach to understanding how and why the SaaS market is developing so fast.

In this context, one key thread links this month’s column with last month’s, which is the importance of the platform.

Forrester’s forecasts may suggest that the size of the platform market will ultimately be less impressive that the size of the SaaS market, but remember it is the platform that enables the SaaS.

An insight therefore for 2012: in this fast developing world of services sourced from the cloud and based, in turn, on the integration of services enabled by platforms, it is the platforms that take centre stage in delivering the assurance of key aspects of the services performance.

Security? Primarily delivered at the platform. Continuity and backup? Delivered at the platform. Key technology standards? Again, the platform rules, OK?