XaaS = Anything as-a-Service (some refer to it as "everything-as-a-Service"). The term is not new; it’s just that it is tangible today. Like a movie trailer that is released far ahead of the movie, XaaS has been talked about for years. I even found reference to XaaS from 2008, long before much of anything was in the cloud. The reality is that just about anything today can be done in the cloud. Just take a look, says Networkworld:
- Software as a service (SaaS)
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Storage as a service (another SaaS)
Security as a service (SECaaS)
Database as a service (DaaS)
Monitoring/management as a service (MaaS)
Identity as a service (IDaaS)
Backup as a service (BaaS)
Desktop as a service (DaaS)
BIaaS (Business Intelligence)
This as-a-service model simply denotes available in the cloud. There are more trendy terms with similar but different meanings such as: convergence of services in the cloud, virtualization, managed, hosted, or even outsourced. With all these services available, how can enterprise IT best leverage the cloud?
Here are a few suggestions:
First, push through the barrier that the cloud threatens the role of enterprise IT. Rather, the role of IT changes with the cloud. What’s more, the cloud can remove redundancies and rogue projects by consolidating shadow IT projects appearing throughout organizations. Says CIO.com, with the cloud, services can be more coherently and economically delivered across their organizations, with economies of scale, high degrees of automation, and self-service tools.
Second, just build it, and the services will come. Many organizations have initially resisted the cloud, only to find that the cloud can indeed be a tool to further enhance enterprise IT. One interviewee at CIO.com said, "A lot of our assumptions about the cloud got us in trouble early on." When they actually dedicated a team to investigate and see which business processes, applications, and other services would be best fulfilled in the cloud, they saw results. The agility, ease of delivery, and cost-effectiveness of the cloud proved it could meet the requirements of IT and the business.
Most in common among enterprise cloud believers seems to be the notion that it isn’t really about the cloud at all. Rather, it’s about enabling market leadership or improving the bottom line. So instead of starting with the as-a-service smorgasbord, first think about how a company’s users (employees, road warriors, clients, customers, vendors) consume technology. Next think about how IT can best align its existing business practices within the cloud. Not everything will fit well in the cloud (like unique, proprietary product information and customer buying behavior). Many others will fit perfectly, however, and that will make all the difference.