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How Service Providers Must Approach the Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) Economy

As we move toward the Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) era, consumers are demanding control of how they subscribe to these services.

Richard Dufty is Senior Vice President, Global Cloud Platform Sales and Services, Ingram Micro.

Marc Andreessen proclaimed that “software is eating the world” just over six years ago. Generally speaking, the venture capitalist’s famous quip still resonates today; but the way we’re consuming software, and what we’re able to consume with it, is shifting. Providers are now able to confidently offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) such that cloud delivery is enabling just about anything to be offered as a service.

Especially as service providers improve their offerings’ security and compliance components, more organizations are willing to trust third-party providers with maintaining most of the IT stack. As we move toward the Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS) era, consumers are demanding control of how they subscribe to these services.

This article will discuss how, exactly to define Anything-as-a-Service (XaaS), why it’s different from Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) — if it is different at all, and what really matters about XaaS when it comes to your customers’ demands.

The XaaS Economy Requires Unprecedented Consumption Flexibility

The transformation to XaaS across industries has already happened (think Uber and Lyft for transportation-as-a-service or accommodation-as-a-service companies like Airbnb). The XaaS model has and will continue to transform industries and give rise to new businesses and innovations.

XaaS and the technology that supports it is becoming so versatile that virtually everything is available “as a Service” (aaS), including your slim electric toothbrush, which now comes with its own app. Cars are now IoT devices, offering diagnostics, in-car entertainment, and other tools as a service, delivered via a single platform.

On the other side of the XaaS coin lies the paradox of choice. Because of the Amazons and Netflixes of the world, we are used to consuming services on demand. However, we are also used to choosing how we commit to a service and tailor our commitments and subscriptions to fit out specific consumption needs. The same is true of businesses: Increasingly, they will be unwilling to commit to a set subscription model.

Businesses, like consumers, want to only pay for what they consume, based on how (or how much) they consume it. From annual licenses to monthly subscriptions, a single upfront payment to usage-only and bundles, customers expect all the options in this new consumption-based economy.

So, how do you win in this new consumption-based XaaS economy?

Meet Dynamic Customer Demands, Generate Market Share

When it comes to selecting from an ever-growing number of cloud offerings, customers and businesses want:

1.       Access to an infinite number of solutions

2.       Curated to their use case

3.       With the freedom to consume it how and when they want

4.       All with the ability to make changes as needed.

As a service provider, that list of demands is your call to action.  

In order to deliver on the “have IT your way” promise of cloud, organizations can’t just be thinking about the services or products they provide. They must think about how a person or business can obtain those services or products. By providing choice, organizations are offering customers tailored solutions that go beyond just their service or product. Honing that offering or set of offerings to the point where they meet and keep up with customer demands is what will set organizations apart as XaaS continues to evolve.

Leverage the Cloud Yourself by Becoming Part of an Infinite Ecosystem

It’s time to start thinking of the ways your customers are consuming these solutions, and giving them the choices their usage demands. To suit changing customer demands, it is crucial for service providers to have access to automated platform technology and an infinite ecosystem of managed cloud-based services and solutions. By tapping into the growing as-a-Service universe, service providers may easily and quickly provide customers with personalized and holistic solutions anywhere and at any time.

Opinions expressed in the article above do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Data Center Knowledge and Informa.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating.

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