The term ‘as a service’ refers to services provided over the internet instead of being owned and maintained in-house. In regards to technology, that means moving from traditional, on-premise systems (think of the big server room and on-site network) to using cloud-based services that are accessed anywhere, from any device.
Today, all businesses want to respond quickly to customer needs, reduce costs and have the agility to enter new markets or react to competitive threats. When you’re looking after your technology services on your own, it can be difficult - and costly - to upscale, upgrade and relocate. That’s where an ‘as a service’ model comes in, enabling you to access the tech services you need fast, flexibly and cost effectively via the cloud.
You can look at this as-a-service model on a scale which we’ve analogised below with the simplicity of fish and chips.
The traditional on-premise technology system is like making fish and chips at home, from scratch. You buy and prepare the ingredients - batter the fish, fry the potatoes, make the tartare sauce, pick a lemon from your tree - and use your home’s own power, equipment and cutlery that you’ve bought from individual suppliers. You buy and control it all.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) can be likened to buying frozen fish and chips from the supermarket. You use your power, table and cutlery but less overall work and management is required of you since the supermarket maintains and supplies the ingredients that you simply heat, pour, squeeze and eat.
Takeaways represent platform as a service (PaaS). The ingredient infrastructure and cooking platform are managed by the takeaway shop. You just set the table and enjoy, and you’ve got someone else to compliment or complain to (if the chips are soggy).
And finally, there’s software as a service (SaaS), which equates to eating out. Everything is handled by the experts at the restaurant so you can concentrate on the food and your companions (otherwise known as your staff and your customers).
As a service beyond the analogy
The as-a-service model is so compelling because every area of your business benefits:
- People can focus on more important things: Your teams will have the devices and technology they need when they need them, with updates provided automatically and support always at the ready. That means more time for strategic thinking plus better agility across the board to respond to customers, bring products to market, and adapt to change.
- You’ll free up capital: As-a-service models are based on operational cost, not capital expenditure. This means you can budget effectively with predictable monthly costs and put capex into more invigorating, business-building investments.
- Enjoy the flexibility: Add and remove users as necessary to meet seasonal, cyclical and project needs. And trial services to see if the team likes them.
Here’s your guide to the different ‘servings’ of technology procurement and management