Today’s world runs on services. Do you want to go somewhere? Hail an uber via the app! Want some blood tests to be done? Summon a lab technician home, via an app on your phone! Unable to cook dinner? Order some food in, with your phone! Everything is provided as a service these days. And there is a term for it. XaaS – Anything/Everything as a Service.
When you hailed an uber taxi, you used Transportation as a service (TaaS). You availed the services of Healthcare as a service(HaaS) when you summoned the lab technician. And with home-delivered food, you were a customer for Food as a service(FaaS).
Umpteen services can substitute the ‘X’ in XaaS, thereby making XaaS a collective noun to represent the entities that are offered as a service over the internet.
More about XaaS
XaaS can be thought of as a periodical subscription to products and services that could be very expensive to purchase in its standalone form.
For ease of understanding, let us compare it to shelter. We require a house to live in. We can either buy a house paying a huge sum at once or we can rent a house for a fraction of the sum and stay there for a duration that is convenient to us.
When we rent a house, we have the flexibility to move out to a different location for a new job or to explore a new place without any hassles of finding a buyer or tenant for the house.
Availing the necessary services with the XaaS model is like renting a house in our analogy. We make use of services as long as we need by paying the required amount and forget about it once we are done. In the following chapters, we shall find out why do customers prefer XaaS? What value does XaaS bring to the table?
Advantages of XaaS
For a customer, the greatest benefit of adopting the XaaS model is the speed with which new technologies and process can be adopted. Infrastructure setup time is minimum for the customer. For an organisation that relies on XaaS for various infrastructure related requirements, this is particularly beneficial as there is better access to newer technologies and scope for frequent scaling.
Investment needed on infrastructure is avoided when the customer goes in for XaaS. For example, consider a new e-commerce startup. In the conventional approach, the business should be investing in computer hardware, server, set up a database, look after the data security and hire a full-time development and IT team to maintain them. With XaaS however, all these can be availed as a service from the vendors who also supply the hardware as a part of the service. This allows the business to cut down on capital expenses and convert them into operational expenses.
To sum it up, XaaS provides high-quality state of the art services with minimal investment and setup time. This allows organisations to redirect their time and resources to core competencies and trust the XaaS service providers to handle the other necessary routine activities.
SaaS – a popular model in the XaaS family
Most popular among all the XaaS models is the SaaS aka Software as a service. It is one of the three main parts of cloud computing. The other two parts are Platform as a service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service(IaaS).
SaaS allows the users to use cloud-based apps over the internet. In simpler words, you do not have to download and install software on your laptop/mobile phone. You can simply access the services via the browser
Most of us have used software without realising that it was in fact SaaS. Some popular apps offered on the subscription model are Dropbox, Google Apps(G Suite), Adobe creative cloud, Netflix, Uber, Spotify…the list goes on.
How much does SaaS score when compared to the traditional licensing model?
Cost-wise, SaaS works out cheaper for a short period. For example, let us say that you want to edit one single video and won’t likely be doing it regularly for the rest of your life. Then, you do not have to pay for the entire software and install it on your computer. You can pay for the software for a month, edit your video by creating an account on their website and download the edited content for your use.
In the SaaS model, the apps get regularly updated automatically and multiple users can access the services at the same time. No worries about losing your data due to a computer crash or virus attack. Data is safe in the servers of the website where you avail your services from.
Benefits for organizations
For organizations, SaaS is the most convenient way to use enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM. Additionally, in the SaaS model, one can access the data from anywhere. This feature is especially useful for present times where remote working has become the norm.
Drawbacks of SaaS
SaaS comes with a question of security about the personal data of end-users. Since we are not sure about the encryption employed by the service provider, there is a slight hesitation from the users to provide private information.
Organizations also think twice before uploading proprietary data on the servers of service providers and worry about information theft.
Software integration issue
When organizations need to use more than one service provided by two different vendors to implement their products, integrating the two software in the SaaS model turns out to be challenging.
High reliability on the internet
As SaaS is a cloud-based technology, it relies heavily on internet connectivity to reach the customer. Internet downtimes can dampen the business goals of organizations
Given its ease of use and many other benefits, XaaS, especially SaaS is the most suitable way for organizations to undergo digital transformation. As most enterprises move to cloud-based services, SaaS is the most convenient way to gain access to their services.