The emergence of an as-a-service (aaS) economy is disrupting the traditional IT and business services industry and according to a recent report from Accenture and industry analyst firm HfS Research, organisations must transition to ‘aaS’ in order to remain truly competitive.
A very different model to one the IT industry has historically embraced, ‘aaS’ refers to an increasing number of services that are delivered over the internet rather than provided locally, or, onsite. From Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), these internet-delivered models are helping to give companies the flexibility to customise their computing environments and craft the experiences they desire, on-demand.
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Some of the most well-known ‘aaS’ products include innovative transportation app ‘Uber’ and music sharing platform ‘Spotify’. What these businesses have in common is that essentially, there is no ‘product’ – the former, a taxi service that does not own any cars, the latter, a music streaming platform which negates the physical purchase of music.
A great example of a product evolving to meet the needs of the modern workplace is Office 365. It began as a floppy disk, then a CD-ROM, and now the whole Microsoft Office suite is available online for download.
The value of ‘aaS’
So what are the advantages of this product-less model? The significance of an ‘aaS’ economy lies in three key areas: accessibility, scalability and infinite life span.
For customers to be able to log-on from any location, at any time, from any device, is one of the most valuable assets of the ‘aaS’ solutions portfolio. As the traditional structures of working continue to break down as the workforce becomes increasing mobile – supported by the consumerisation of IT – it becomes essential for businesses to implement solutions which cater to this.
Initiatives such as Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) and cloud-based software (SaaS) come under this umbrella, and looking ahead, as society becomes increasing connected through the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is likely lead to the introduction of more ‘aaS’ solutions and the evolution of existing ones.
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‘AaS’ solutions are also fully scalable and organisations forecasting growth or looking for agility from their networking; storage or other computing resources can benefit from this ‘pay-as-you-go’ style model – confident that they will not outgrow it in a short timeframe. Services can be accessed as and when they are needed with the option to turn up or turn down capacity, dependent on business needs and demands.
Moreover, ‘aaS’ is proving itself a remedy to the CIO headache of legacy technology. Its ability to evolve, adapt and grow as the IT landscape innovates and business requirements change, means it can cater to both the demand of today and the possibility of tomorrow.
The benefits of ‘aaS’ are certainly appealing…
Where do we go from here?
The benefits of ‘aaS’ are certainly appealing but, whilst more than half of senior operations leaders view as-a-service as critical for business value, two thirds of enterprises are not prepared for an ‘aaS’ economy. In order to take advantage of these benefits it is vital for organisations to have the right business strategies in place internally, to ensure that they are using ‘aaS’ solutions to their full capabilities. Clear objectives and a real partnership between customer and technology partner are key factors here.
Once these elements are in order, the opportunities are endless. In today’s fast-paced world, organisations should be looking to embrace solutions likes these – ones which allow them to innovate quickly, meet their customers’ needs and ultimately, stay competitive.