IT as a service – the modern way to uitilise business technology
For many business leaders, it has historically been a complex decision-making process choosing which IT products and platforms the company should utilise.
According to Daniel Bryar, of Fuji Xerox Business Centre Sunshine Coast, this is usually because IT purchasing decisions (both software and hardware) often result in long-term commitments to a particular technology.
He said these commitments are often exacerbated financially, given the upfront implementation expense and the (typically) high opportunity costs of change associated with commercial grade IT products and platforms.
The financial commitment alone can make a reversal economically impossible, or at the very least, unpalatable to the shareholders.
Mr Bryar said in today's market many of the specialised software products have been modularised and productised into high-calibre cloud-delivered services that are available on subscription plans.
All subscribers get access to the latest version with the widest feature set and it all comes with a guaranteed service level.
Software as a Service (SaaS) has made a significant change in software purchasing decisions, principally for the following reasons:
1. Known costs per user with a fixed price per month;
2. Flexible commitment: the ability to grow – or shrink – the service on demand, often with no minimum term contracts;
3. Guaranteed service levels and the most up to date features;
4. Cloud delivery to any compatible device, in any location; and
5. Constant and incremental small changes that are simple for employees to learn and adapt their work processes to make use of.
Mr Bryar said to understand why subscription models are a smarter way to consume digital media, consider the subscription model for something like entertainment.
If a retail consumer has a fixed entertainment spend every month, say $40, then they can buy a couple of albums or DVDs every month.
Over the course of a year, they would spend about $500 on up to 30 albums or movies.
In the case of 90 per cent of entertainment purchases however, the content is considered stale after 12-24 months, and eventually it loses its value to the purchaser.
Once it's value is lost, they may elect to sell the stale items (at a significant loss), put them in storage, or just place them in the bin.
If the consumer elects to instead subscribe to digital media streaming services like Spotify and Netflix, for half of the $40 monthly budget, they now have anytime access to a catalogue of hundreds and thousands of songs and several thousand movies.
Stale content is of no consequence and the catalogue is constantly being updated and added to as new media is released.
Of course a subscription to any online service, be it a streaming entertainment or business level SaaS, requires a capable network connection and a suitable receiving system.
In business this is all generally wrapped up in the IT budget which covers the infrastructure, hardware and software.
In the hardware space Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is thought of by many as the PCs on which staff perform their duties and the phones on which they make calls.
The same three words however take on a lot more meaning to those employed to deliver the devices on which people work.
This primarily comes as a result of the requirement to deliver a business grade infrastructure platform on which others can work, making sure all the different pieces work together in harmony, and no part of it requires specific long term training or specialised skills to operate.
In larger organisations there is often a dedicated IT department, but for many SMBs, the IT is usually handled by a third party provider.
No matter which category your business falls into, consuming ICT as a service instead of a series of purchases removes a number of challenges and provides several benefits to your organisation.
• ICTaaS providers (either internal and external) should supply a standardised set of tested products and services that work well together, with minimal customisation.
◦ Standardised services are faster and more cost effective to deploy and support.
◦ In larger organisations customisations are often available from a self-service catalogue.
• Services can be sourced from multiple vendors to meet business requirements in exchange for a fixed monthly fee at either a departmental or an individual staff member level. This allows standard hardware products to be allocated and re-allocated as demands dictate.
• When utilising ICTaaS the products and services are offered with short term contracts, typically only 12 months. In a market where technology becomes obsolete in a measure of months, long term contracts are unfeasible.
• Operating a company on always current technology allows businesses to capitalise on new and emerging trends as soon as they become apparent.
• The cost of change is either rolled in to the service, or significantly reduced. Any 'system shocks' normally associated with wholesale changes are eliminated.
• Many small changes over a long period of time reduce operational downtime and staff training requirements, as well as overall support costs.
• Consuming ICTaaS provides your business with greater flexibility towards the communication and technology platforms over which it operates.
Mr Bryar said in a world where technology drives business it has become essential for IT to keep pace.
ITaaS is reinventing the way companies perceive the Information Technology department or provider, from a cost centre to a service provider.
Through the enhanced scalability, flexibility, and adaptability of cloud solutions (SaaS) and managed network environments (ICTaaS), business leaders can now drive IT operations from a demand perspective and alter their consumption to meet business requirements as and when they change.
Join Daniel Bryar for the April 13 webinar Risky Business: online threats and how to minimise your exposure. Register here