Businesses are trusting and embracing the cloud more than ever, with 80% of the Fortune 500 in the Microsoft Cloud. With this new acceptance of moving critical business workloads online, enterprises are also looking at new business models that use this technology, rather than just repeating practices that worked on-premises. For example, if an existing Intranet was custom developed in-house then why not design it the same way in Office 365? The rise of the 'as a service' business model is helping revolutionize the way firm's approach business functions by providing an alternative. The 'as a service' model enables the business to do more with less, faster than ever before - all without having to worry about on-going maintenance and support.
What Is 'As A Service'?
As a service' is a cloud computing term for the extensive variety of services and applications emerging for users to access on demand over the Internet as opposed to being utilized via on-premises means. Everything-as-a-Service, or XaaS, originated as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and has since expanded to include services such as platform-as-a-service (e.g. Office 365), infrastructure-as-a-service (e.g. Microsoft Azure) and even nascent operations like Intranet-as-a-service.
Challenges of the Traditional Approach
- Obsolescence - Sooner or later with a traditional 'box of software' or custom intranet solution the times comes to face the problem of obsolescence, when it is no longer useful. Complex customizations can be difficult to maintain, often relying on the tacit knowledge of a few individuals which can sap huge amounts of time from the business while going through the repeated upgrade cycles.
- Not enough control outside of IT - Users, who are often on the receiving end of projects that fail to deliver, are now demanding more control over initiatives that would traditionally been handled by IT departments and this is driving a transformation away from legacy practices. In 2014, Gartner reported that 27% of IT spend occurred outside of the IT budget. Business leaders are also getting bolder, Avanade reported that 79 percent of C-suite executives believe they make better and faster tech decisions than their own IT departments.
Benefits of the 'As A Service' Model
- Predictable costs - Subscription based services convert the real cost of ownership and turn it into a predictable expense with a highly predictable outcome. No more underestimating projects that overrun, blowing budgets or costly on-going support and maintenance due to constantly changing technology and new business demands.
- Evolution and ROI - 'As a service' products evolve and continue to add value, versus traditional projects which an miss the mark entirely by never meeting the needs they were intended to address or failing to deliver the expected return on investment (ROI).
- No more large upfront costs sucking budget - When looking at the total investment over a three-year period a traditional project requires a large upfront CAPEX, or capital expenditure, budget. This often causes future year budgets for the initiative to be limited and with underinvestment comes the inevitable decline in user value undermining the original project goals with it.
- Greater flexibility - With a subscription based 'as a service' model the costs are OPEX, or operating expenditure, based, meaning that customers have greater flexibility to customize and optimize services in year one. This enables the customer to meet their goals, provide business value fast and get a bigger, better, speedier, ROI.
- 'As A Service' subscription grows with the business - Making it simple and easy to add more users, or even bring an entire new acquisition onto a common platform, without buying a single server. All of which can be done in days instead of months.
- Outside support - As a Service model products are supported by an external corporation i.e. Netflix, Unily. And if these corporations are doing things properly, there's someone on the outside to help you, support your activities and maintain the upkeep of your solution, meaning your IT/Internal communications/HR staff can get back to their primary business tasks, without having to focus their time manning the intranet.
How Unily Applies
After many years of creating customized portal solutions for clients around the world, our experience showed us that no matter the size of the company or the vertical marketplace, most organizations shared the same core Intranet needs. So we harnessed that knowledge to create a feature full Intranet as a Service solution, that delivered award-winning user experiences combined with a robust evergreen platform. With Unily, we have delivered a valuable, long-term solution that continues to grow and appreciate over time.
Unily is a best practice, but customizable, turnkey solution it can be deployed in a fraction of the time of a custom solution. Unily is a managed offering that includes SLA-backed support and regular free upgrades in response to changes to Office 365 and our customer driven roadmap. The pricing is transparent, all-inclusive and fixed for the term of the contract providing predictable budget forecasts.
IT should be a business enabler and by implementing Office 365 as part of a digital workplace transformation IT departments are able to offer a modern robust platform that keeps pace with technology and 'just works'. Delivering on business challenges quickly and easily with guaranteed outcomes, transparent and predictable pricing is the promise of the 'as a service' revolution. The time has come for business leaders to decide if they want to continually deal with internal IT challenges, late and costly projects or to give their sole focus to their primary business mission and offload selected workloads to trusted best in class 'as a service' offerings for predictable results, faster ROI and plenty more sleep at night!