Monday, October 05, 2015

What is ‘Everything as a Service’?



It’s getting cloudy out there – from infrastructure and disaster recovery services, to virtual desktops, applications and customer relationship management, there’s a vast amount of business services now available as a cloud-based subscription. Information technology as a whole has transitioned from being local or on-site to on-demand, wherever users may be.

So much subscription-based technology has recently surfaced that they can no longer all be categorized under a single, generic term such as SaaS. Instead, the over-arching umbrella is now referred to as XaaS – where the X can represent essentially anything.

The very essence of cloud computing, XaaS is a collective term that’s also known as anything as a service or simply everything as a service. The is given a specific name depending on the type of service the vendor is offering. Infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and of course – software-as-a-service, are all examples of XaaS variations. Despite its relatively recent emergence, the XaaS train hasn’t wasted any time covering ground quickly, having already reached enterprise-levels for a number of big vendors including GoogleMicrosoft and Hewlett Packard.

Emergence
SaaS is the first, most common and successful example of XaaS. But since that time, the movement has expanded to include:


These service niches have definitely gained a foothold: Amazon and Rackspace host various infrastructure components on behalf of users, Mailchimp runs high-performance mail servers for free or at low cost, while e-commerce businesses likeShopify make payment processing easy, straightforward, and quick.

User Benefits
Users of subscription-based services simply choose the option that is best for them, pay a per-user or usage fee per month, and the service is ready for the them to use almost immediately.

  • Sign Up & Go. With cloud-based services, getting up and running straight away is easy. You can even do so without talking to a single human being. This sign-up-and-go approach is possible thanks to the adaptation of user-friendly application programming interfaces (APIs), making it easy for users to carry out their desired action without needing the technological skills to do so. Long integration processes are history; activating your service takes minutes or hours, not weeks or months.
  • No Upfront Investment. One of the most appealing aspects of XaaS is the fact that an initial investment doesn’t need to be made. Pricing is based on units of measure as opposed to implementation. There is no hefty setup fee. Not only that, but in many cases XaaS companies take full advantage of the “try before you buy” model, allowing users to gauge the value of the service by downloading a free version before making a financial commitment.

Business Benefits
The good news for merchants is that it has become more simple and cost-effective not only to launch but also to grow an online business. Some benefits include:

  • Greater agility, flexibility and scalability.
  • Increased innovation through technology.
  • Ability to take advantage of new technologies, due to faster response to market developments.
  • Improved ability to predict budget expenditure, reducing startup costs.

Despite all the benefits of going to the cloud, there are still things to consider: for subscription-based businesses, a strong cloud services platform is essential, as users need a reliable Internet connection to reach whatever your organization is hosting. Businesses must be aware that downtime is always a possibility, and addressing any security concerns is a must before adding data to the cloud.

Future Foothold
Cloud computing is undoubtedly changing the way IT and software is viewed and used. Connectivity and much faster computing platforms are pushing services to the Internet where they can be acquired on demand, instead of having to slog through costly on-site infrastructure. The trend is so strong that nearly any type of hardware, software, IT or business process – from education and health to news gathering – is now offered as a cloud-based service. The opportunities to start a cloud-based business are now endless. It’s a wonderful time to innovate!

Jason Kiwaluk

Mower & Shoveller,

Ecommerce | Adtech | Innovation | Strategy

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