What Is XaaS?
XaaS is an acronym for "anything as a service" (as well as "everything as a service"). This term is used to describe the growing trend of businesses outsourcing their services to third-party providers. Instead of maintaining their own infrastructure or hiring in-house staff to provide specific services, companies are turning to XaaS providers to get what they need. This can be anything from software, storage, infrastructure or knowledge as services. XaaS leverages the power of cloud computing to obtain these various services.
Most of us are already using XaaS of different kinds in business or private life.
The XaaS Model
The XaaS model is the way of delivering these services that breaks them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This makes them easier to consume and allows businesses to pay for only the services they need.
Types of XaaS Businesses
Traditionally, XaaS started in the IT industry. It was the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), that identified three forms of cloud computing solutions: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
SaaS – Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software delivery model where third-party hosts and delivers software over the internet. Customers can access and use the software, typically through a web browser, while the provider manages the infrastructure and security. A very well-known example of SaaS is Hubspot, an all-in-one marketing solution offering services for inbound marketing, sales or a CRM tool.
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. These resources can include servers, storage, networks, and applications, and can be used to create or extend a customer's IT infrastructure. It allows clients to run their own applications on the platform. This can include anything from virtual machines and storage, to networking and security features. Microsoft Azure is an example of an IaaS provider.
PaaS – Platform as a Service
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a type of cloud computing that provides a platform for users to develop, test, and deploy applications. PaaS services are also typically delivered through a web-based interface and provide users with a self-service experience. The platform is housed and entirely owned by the company.
PaaS provides users with a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, eliminating the need to install or maintain any on-premises infrastructure. PaaS services are often used for applications that require high availability, scalability, and security. PaaS is often used for web applications, mobile applications, and big data analytics.
PaaS is different from other cloud services, such as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) because it provides a complete platform for development, rather than just specific services. Example
The following figure illustrates the scope of the three services in a witty yet easy to understand manner.
Looking at this example, you clearly understand that XaaS goes beyond the traditional software industry and the digital domain. Let’s have a look at a few examples.
HaaS – Healthcare as a Service
Healthcare as a Service provides access to digital health and wellness content over the internet. HaaS can include health information, fitness tracking, and other types of digital health content.
HaaS is often used by healthcare providers, such as hospitals and clinics, to provide access to their patients' health records. HaaS can also be used by fitness companies, such as Fitbit and Nike, to provide access to their fitness tracking data.
HaaS is a growing trend in the healthcare industry. It provides consumers with more flexibility and choice in how they manage their health. It also gives healthcare providers a new way to monetize their content and reach more consumers.
MaaS – Mobility as a Service
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) refers to the ability to plan and book multiple types of mobility services. This can include transportation options such as ride-sharing, carsharing, bike-sharing, scooter-sharing and public transportation. MaaS can also include other services such as parking, electric vehicle charging, and even multimodal trip planning.
MaaS has the potential to transform how we get around cities and could help reduce traffic congestion and pollution. It can also make it easier for people to get around, especially those who do not have access to a car. Examples of MaaS companies are Uber, Lyft, Miles, Lime or Sixt Share.
EaaS – Entertainment as a Service
Entertainment as a Service uses cloud computing that provides access to digital media content over the internet. EaaS can include movies, TV shows, music, books, and other types of digital media.
EaaS is often used by streaming media providers such as Netflix, Amazon and Spotify. These companies provide access to their content libraries for a monthly subscription fee. EaaS can also be used by video game companies, such as Microsoft and Sony, to provide access to their gaming platforms and titles.
EaaS is a growing trend in the media and entertainment industry. It provides consumers with more flexibility and choice in how they consume content. It also gives content providers a new way to monetize their content and reach more consumers.
We have now touched on some of the advantages on both the business and the consumer side. Let's take a detailed look at both sides.
10 Ways XaaS is improving our Future
Reduced costs and financial efficiency
XaaS means that a company can get their work done without having to worry about buying and maintaining the tools or (expensive) infrastructure they need. Obviously, this saves the company money because they don't have to spend as much on those things. Particularly important for small companies, the transfer of outgoings of capital expenditure to operational expenses can make a real difference to survival and growth.
XaaS is also beneficial in terms of financial savings and efficiency for organisations because it can help them to avoid unexpected (high) costs and investments. For example, if a company needs to buy new software or hardware to do their work, they may not have budgeted for that. If they use XaaS, they can get the job done without spending big amounts of money. A pay-as-you-go model is in that respect highly beneficial.
Next to saving money, using XaaS providers makes an organisation also more efficient, because they can use the time they would have spent maintaining tools or infrastructure to focus on their core business. Company resources are freed up and the productivity of their employees can be increased.
Increased flexibility and scalability
Another key benefit of XaaS is the enormous flexibility that it offers. This means that companies can change and adapt their services quickly and easily, without having to worry about the expense of new tools or hiring more staff. This is important for companies and startups that are growing quickly, or that are expecting a sudden increase in demand for their services. It also means that organisations can try new things without having to make a big investment upfront.
Higher levels of cybersecurity, backup and protection
Security is another important benefit. Also because cyber attacks are increasing in quantity as well as quality. XaaS providers usually have more resources and expertise than individual companies, so they can provide better security for their customers. This is especially important for companies that deal with sensitive data, or that are at risk of being targeted by hackers. Also, when it comes to backups and disaster recovery, XaaS providers often have better systems in place than individual companies. Peace of mind at a new level.
Growth & fast development
We touched already on the scalability due to the flexibility and reduced financial investment and risk. This leads towards greater profitability and predictability. It also means that the company can tap faster into new markets, products, business models and revenue streams.
Growth will be additionally fired up by faster development and deployment of products and services that a company can offer. The time-to-market shrinks and the customer experience is enhanced. As well as the employee experience.
Enhanced customer experience
Talking about the customer experience – clients will not only be delighted by products and services that reach them faster, but also about an increased quality of them. XaaS enables the breeding ground for accelerated innovation, which ultimately leads to better products and services.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into how clients and consumers benefit from the XaaS scenario.
Products and services of higher quality
As mentioned above, customers will be pleased by better services and products due to accelerated innovation and the ability to try out more things because of the reduced risk and time it involves. It also leads to a greater range and availability of products and services companies can offer and also more personalised ones.
Experience, not ownership
The dutch futurist Marcel Bullinga once said: “The key to the future is not ownership, but access.” This was in 2012. And he is right. Leaders of disruptive companies like Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Jennifer Hyman (Rent the Runway) are rephrasing Bullinga in their own words:
"We have an ownership society now, but we’re moving toward an access society, where you’re not defined by the things you own but by the experiences you have.", said Chesky. Hyman expresses it this way: “I’m saying the pride of ownership is dead, and the pride of access is the new luxury.”
Access also leads to an increased convenience, in terms of people don’t have to take care and maintain physical objects and are also more convenient to use than traditional services.
Lower costs – also for consumers
They often save twice. Because companies have less expenses, they can offer products and services to a lower and more competitive price than enriching themselves on the opportunity of reduced costs. And then there is the pricing model. XaaS solutions are often offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, so customers who only need the service occasionally can save money.
What holds true for the costs, also applies to the flexibility. XaaS solutions give customers more freedom and flexibility than traditional services since they may fulfil a variety of demands in a granular fashion, so clients can pick what they need.
Generally you can say that a lot of the benefits that companies can reap from XaaS, can also be transferred to consumers.
Marcel Bullinga was right. The key to the future is access. He also stated that the future will be cheap. That’s true again. Because XaaS makes this a reality.
It provides a number of benefits for companies, including improved security, faster product development and deployment, enhanced customer experience, and reduced costs. Companies can also offer products and services at a more competitive price than before, due to the flexibility and reduced risk associated with XaaS. Consumers stand to benefit from these same advantages, in addition to increased convenience, quality, and access. As XaaS continues to evolve, it is likely that these benefits will only increase, making XaaS an attractive option for both businesses and consumers alike. We can’t wait for this future to begin.
What are the drawbacks of XaaS?
Be aware that there are also a few common issues that can arise when using a XaaS model. You may experience service outages if your provider experiences an issue with their infrastructure. You may find that certain features or applications are unavailable if they are not compatible with the XaaS model. And while in the best case your company saves money, understand how you are charged and what are the limits. Additional charges may apply if your usage limits are exceeded. You might also be charged for services which you are not using.
How can you decide if XaaS is right for your business?
There are a few things you can do to decide if XaaS is right for your business. In the beginning, consider your needs and what you're looking for in a cloud service. What type(s) of XaaS does your business need, and what are the costs? Is it still profitable? Figure out the benefits for your company as well as for your clients. Finally, make a decision based on your findings. If you decide that XaaS is right for your business, the next step is to find a reputable provider and get started.
What are some best practices for using XaaS?
When using a XaaS model for your business, there are a few best practices to follow. Make sure you have a good understanding of your SLA (Service-level agreement) with your provider. This will outline the terms of your service, including things like uptime and support. Also be mindful of your usage levels, as you may be charged for services that you don't use or exceed. Be mindful about security and privacy, as you'll be sharing company and customers data and resources with your provider.