Vince DeLuca, CEO Logicalis US, wonders which of the seven main ‘aaS’ (as a service) applications will underpin service-led transformation as CIOs strive to maintain their own relevance in the face of the increased influence of line of business managers.
The ‘as a service’ model seems likely to continue its relentless march into the mainstream this year, pushed on by CIOs’ drive to reinvent the IT function as a ‘pseudo-service provider’.
The question, for me at least, is ‘which of the main as-a-service applications will lead the way?
But let’s take a step back for a moment and ask why as-a-service is likely to be so pivotal to CIOs’ plans. Quite simply, businesses the world over, some regions more than others admittedly, have worked out that technology is not an end in itself, it is the way technology is consumed that matters – in other words, the true value of technology is measured primarily in terms of its impact on the way people work and the overall efficiency and agility of the business.
It’s not the technology alone that transforms a business. It’s the way the business accesses and uses that technology that is transformative.
Couple this concept with the fact that CIOs also want to streamline and optimise technology, make more efficient use of budgets, and spend more time on strategic activities – and working out that ‘as a service’ fits the bill is not a huge leap of imagination.
Outsourcing certain aspects of the IT department’s function by purchasing those functions ‘as a service’ can offload repetitive tasks, reduce capital expenditures and, accordingly, enable CIOs and IT teams to spend less time managing the technology they already have.
All that brings us back to the question, ‘which of the seven aaS apps will come to the fore?’ Let’s look at their relative merits:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): By partnering with a cloud provider who can tailor a software-as-a-service solution to the provider’s product and market, software providers are increasingly able to provide consistent, always-up service – all that without the cost and hassle of creating and maintaining the in-house infrastructure required to do the job.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): An on-demand infrastructure-as-a-service offering that is a self-managed, multi-tenant public cloud infrastructure can provide the flexible computing resources, memory and storage – great for projects such as test and development, proof of concept, training, bursting or other short-term needs.
- Data Center-as-a-Service (DCaaS): Outsourcing select data center functions to the cloud, co-locating a data center, or deploying an energy-efficient, high-density computing modular data center may well be a very efficient way of moving on from purpose built, but now outdated DCs.
- Storage as a Service: Storage-as-a-service offers affordable monthly terms and the ability to easily increase storage service levels as needed – it looks an efficient option for most organisations, particularly if they have legal requirements to retain large volumes of data for years.
- Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS): DRaaS solutions, prepackaged to provide a standard DR failover to a cloud environment and which can be bought on a pay-per-use basis, are likely to look highly cost-effective options for many CIOs.
- IT Service Desk-as-a-Service: If outsourcing an IT service desk can cut costs and increase the level of service to end users without sacrificing quality or impacting competitive advantage, it’s clearly something that IT pros will examine.
- ITSM: As the mortar that holds together the individual components of the new IT delivery model, the solution that maintains order and keeps the reins of control firmly entrenched in the hands of the IT department, ITSM is one solution that few embracing the ‘aaS’ revolution will be able to ignore.
In the end, each of these as-a-service applications has its merits – and the choice for CIOs will boil down to relevance, timing and benefits. If storage is high on a CIO’s agenda, then Storage-as-a-Service will come to the fore; if DR needs fixing, then DRaaS will be top of the agenda, and so on.
The answer to our question, then, is undoubtedly ‘all of them, but perhaps not all at the same time’ – and yes, it looks increasingly likely that this is, indeed, the year when CIOs get XaaSy.