05 Dec What is XaaS? Explaining Anything as a Service
In today’s digitally-evolving world, we’re seeing a rapidly increasing focus on cloud-based and software-focused technology. “As-a-service” solutions have taken the world by storm, introducing convenient and affordable ways to access ever-evolving and agile technology.
With as-a-service technology, you can access exactly the functionality you need from a provider on a pay-as-you-go basis, leveraging features through the cloud, rather than having to download or install something. The result is a far more flexible approach to technology.
The chances are you’ve already heard of “UCaaS” (Unified Communications as a Service), which delivers unified communications tools over the cloud, and “CCaaS” (Contact centre as a Service), but what about XaaS?
Here’s your guide to Anything as a Service.
Defining XaaS: Anything as a Service
XaaS stands for “Anything as a Service”, with the “X” standing for “everything”, or “anything”. The term is quickly being adopted as the overarching category for all “as-a-service” solutions. Everything, or “Anything” as a service covers all of the tools, services, and solutions you can purchase using the as-a-service consumption model.
Many major technology companies offer forms of “XaaS”, from Microsoft (with Azure cloud) to Amazon Web Services, Google, and even Meta. There are also countless contact centre, communications, IT, and similar service providers to consider.
Just some of the potential types of XaaS you may be aware of include:
- Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS)
- Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Database as a Service (DBaaS)
- Network as a Service (NaaS)
- Storage as a Service (StaaS)
Some forms of XaaS are “standalone” offerings, like “Database as a Service”, which provides users with access to specific data management tools.
While other XaaS solutions form pillars. For instance, “SaaS” can refer to a huge range of different types of software solutions hosted and delivered in the cloud. PaaS, is another example of a “pillar” XaaS solution, where clients can access a platform for hosting, running, managing, and developing applications without having to maintain on-premises or cloud infrastructure.
What are the Benefits of XaaS?
As you can see, there are various different kinds of XaaS to explore, from contact centre tools, to database technology. The primary benefit of using this kind of model is the cost savings. There’s a significant reduction in the up-front expenses associated with XaaS.
For instance, if you purchase a “Room as a Service” (RaaS) from a company like Zoom for video conferencing, you’d only pay for the tools you need on a subscription basis, rather than having to buy countless webcams and hardware up-front.
Before XaaS, companies were forced to purchase everything they needed for a technology investment up-front, which could include everything from software and hardware to servers and specialist services. Now, they can identify their needs and subscribe to a service offering exactly what they need, for a price they can afford.
Other benefits of XaaS include:
- Scalability: With a XaaS solution, you’re free to change your subscription and access new features and tools whenever you like. For instance, if you’re using a UCaaS system and you want to upgrade to add more phones or reduce the number of channels you’re using, you can do so at the click of a button, without having to invest in a lot of extra hardware.
- Flexibility: XaaS also means you can change your entire software ecosystem by switching vendors, and you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch buying new products and hardware to implement into your business. If your market changes or your client changes, you can add new solutions to your virtual packages.
- Insights: Having access to your technology solutions within a cloud environment can make it a lot easier to keep track of everything in one space. For instance, a CCaaS solution can show you all of your different communication networks in a single pane of glass. This makes it easier to make intelligent business decisions.
- Simple Management: Most XaaS solutions come with a simple administrator portal or application you can use to control all of your investments. This makes it much easier to do everything from applying software patches, to updating technology at a distance. XaaS solutions can even allow companies to provision users remotely, and make security changes to their network from anywhere.
- Relevance: The Flexibility of a XaaS solution means it’s possible for companies of all sizes to stay relevant and current with market demands. For instance, you can update your VCaaS (Video Conferencing as a Service) technology to include new AI features and virtual backgrounds as soon as they emerge.
- Maintenance: Usually, XaaS won’t require professionals to pay for specialist support and services from a technology provider. Some solutions even come with maintenance included as part of the subscription price. Maintenance tasks can include everything from backup and protection strategies, to patching equipment.
What’s more, because your technology is located in the cloud, it’s extremely easy to access from anywhere, even in today’s world of hybrid work. With XaaS technology, companies can ensure all of their employees have access to the same solutions within a secured environment.
What are the Problems with XaaS?
While XaaS has a lot of benefits for modern and growing brands, it’s not without a few downsides too. Cloud-based technology has a lot of scalability and cost-savings to offer, but it can also be less reliable at times than on-premises solutions. The biggest downsides of XaaS include:
- Possible downtime: While most XaaS providers will promise high service uptime guarantees, there’s always a chance your database could go down. This could mean that you’ll end up with periods when you can’t get any work done.
- Performance: Not all XaaS providers are alike. Some may not be as reliable when it comes to offering a high level of functionality and performance. You’ll need to make sure you assess the potential providers on your list carefully before choosing a XaaS vendor.
Security: While XaaS solutions are widely considered to be very secure, there’s always a risk that a database could end up with a breach. You’ll need to ensure your XaaS provider has the right security standards in place to protect against this.
The Future of XaaS
A combination of cloud computing growing more popular, and the rising demand for flexible, agile solutions in technology paves a strong road for the future of XaaS. Things like hybrid work and agility in the technology space will ensure more companies continue to invest in this business model going forward.
As always, the key to success will be ensuring you choose the right XaaS vendor to suit your specific needs.