IT-as-a-Service is an operations model in which a provider delivers turnkey IT services to a company based on demand. Although IT-as-a-Service is not strictly dependent on the cloud, the rise of cloud technologies has made it much easier for service providers to offer IT-as-a-Service to customers. To achieve this, IT-as-a-Service providers bundle and enhance SaaS, PaaS and IaaS solutions and combine them with managed services. The result is a service catalog with services well-tailored to customer needs at transparent prices. Customers can select and subscribe to the relevant services from this catalog.
Benefits of an IT-as-a-Service operating model
From the customer’s perspective, IT-as-a-Service offers numerous advantages:
Transparent and predictable costs
IT-as-a-Service relieves you of the need to purchase and operate hardware and software. You have no tied-up capital and only pay for the services you use. Most services are available at a fixed price or usage-based depending on your usage. This makes the costs very transparent and predictable.
In general, you can add or cancel services from month to month. This means you don’t have to plan ahead for a long time but can make use of a virtualized resource pool. Your IT adapts to your needs.
IT-as-a-Service providers are geared to provide standard solutions as quickly and automatically as possible. Therefore, they can get you onboard in a short time and save you a lot of time.
Always up to date
In return for the subscription fee, you will always have an up-to-date solution. Since IT-as-a-Service providers often focus on cloud solutions, new features and upgrades are rolled out automatically and with zero disruption.
Robust, reliable and secure
An IT-as-a-service provider has a strong specialization and full focus on automation. This enables the provider to achieve a high level of reliability in the services offered. Since the provider sells at a fixed price, the support costs must be kept as low as possible. This is most easily achieved if the service is always reliable and trouble-free. Traditional IT service providers earn their money when their customers’ IT systems are not running and they have to fix problems. The incentives to provide good service are spot on with the IT-as-a-service operating model.
With all the benefits that an IT-as-a-service operating model promises, the question arises as to whether it is really so simple to buy your entire IT “off the shelf”. An IT-as-a-service provider will certainly make every effort to bundle the individual services into a comprehensive package, but each business is unique and has individual requirements that can sometimes not be met by “out-of-the-box” solutions. In addition to an IT-as-a-service solution, there is therefore room for individual solutions to meet your specific requirements. However, in my opinion, one should be very careful with individual IT solutions. Although it is tempting to order a customized solution, it often leads to a dependency that can become very expensive in the long run and from which it is very difficult to free oneself (so-called lock-in effect).
Exemplary components of an IT-as-a-Service offering
Using a few examples from our own portfolio, I would like to show you how an IT-as-a-Service offering can be designed:
This basic building block of an IT-as-a-service offering provides a complete corporate network with all the necessary network components, which are monitored and managed centrally from the cloud by the IT-as-a-service provider. The key advantage of this service is that the company does not need its own network administrator.
Modern Workplace Bundle
If you want productive and satisfied employees who can work together efficiently and securely from anywhere, you should equip them with a modern workplace. In addition to up-to-date hardware and operating system, this includes the right bundle of software. Microsoft 365 or the Google G Suite is a good basis for the modern workplace. Services that are included in the numerous subscriptions are, for example
- A professional e-mail solution with calendar and contacts
- Office software for editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations
- Collaboration software for video meetings and chats
- Cloud storage for document storage and management
- Task planner
- Security Tools
- and much more.
However, a cloud productivity suite such as M365 or G Suite is only part of a modern workplace. To tap into the full potential of these services, they should be complemented with other services. In my opinion, a third-party back-up solution for M365 or G Suite is an absolute must and should be included in every IT-as-a-Service offering. In addition, a service for digitally signing electronic documents or a single sign-on solution, for example, can be useful. Last but not least, managed services create a high added value and bring the PS of your cloud services to the road. Managed Services for a modern workplace include, for example, ongoing configuration optimization, monitoring and utilization control, reporting, user training and support.
Managed Virtual Desktops
Another important component of an IT-as-a-Service offering is a desktop virtualization service. This service allows employees to access their personal workspace with all their individual settings and applications, regardless of location or device. It doesn’t matter whether they use classic desktop PCs, smartphones, tablets or laptops – at the company headquarters, on the road or from the home office. This service is particularly suitable for companies with a mobile workforce and high standards of control over corporate data.
A virtual data center is built from the public cloud resource pool, where your applications and workloads can run securely. The virtual datacenter is then securely connected to your local network. Migration and all management tasks are handled by the IT-as-a-Service provider. These include cost control, monitoring and configuration optimization and support.
IT-as-a-Service is a very exciting approach and I am sure that this operating model will continue to establish itself – although perhaps not always under the name “IT-as-a-Service”, IT is increasingly becoming a commodity that is easy to procure and use. IT-as-a-Service is particularly interesting for SMEs that are particularly affected by the shortage of skilled IT experts.