In 2017, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry has to be ready for “XaaS.” What is X? X, as we have known it, has been software, infrastructure, voice, unified communications – all as-a-service. But what is the next big as-a-service offering? Before we define that, we must examine how as-a-service affects overall solutions. Specifically, I believe there are six distinct determinants of as-a-service solutions.
Traditionally, the B2B sales representative model has been used to buy and sell solutions, but now, the industry is transitioning over to an online marketplace – not just for a product, but for a total solution that is needed to solve a business issue. Also, a VAR may have previously communicated with the CIO of a company regarding the purchase of tech solutions. Now, the line of business decision-makers must be first on the VAR’s call list.
Technology solutions may include physical products (from a warehouse), digital products (from a Data Center or Carrier), or more likely, a combination of the two. How products get delivered is now a new question that the VAR must ask.
A second new question for the VAR to ask is “how do you want to pay?” Now, the CFO may join the conversation and determine if CapEx is appropriate or if the OpEx budget is better suited. Again, a combination of the two is likely.
Today’s Solution as a Service has an ongoing lifecycle and must be managed accordingly. Technology refreshes, software updates and hardware repairs are a constant. Because of that, the contract and consumption model is going to be renewable every year.
When utilizing as-a-service solutions, adjustments are easy. Adding or removing licenses or devices, moves/adds/changes, etc., is all done by the VAR or MSP in the automated marketplace at any time.
With as-a-service offerings, service is automatic and proactive, minimizing downtime and maximizing device utilization.
The channel is currently in the midst of a huge transitional era, and, over the next couple of years, the industry will have to address what I refer to as Anything as-a-service (AaaS). All technology solutions will be affected by as-a-service to some degree, so there will be an urgent need to understand and accommodate any kind of technology solution as an as-a-service offering.
Further, the as-a-service disruption won’t stop there. By 2019 or 20, there will be a dramatic shift from adopting AaaS to Everything as-a-service (EaaS). During this time, technology solutions will include more digital components, and less physical ones. Therefore, in the upcoming year, the channel must prepare for XaaS, which will transform into AaaS, and eventually move to EaaS. Will you be ready?
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