/ 2 August 2022

How an ‘everything-as-a-service’ approach can boost business success

Gettyimages 1387670572
Digital technology drives most aspects of business and our daily lives. (Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

Digital technology drives most aspects of business and our daily lives. Over the past 18 months, we’ve also witnessed the important role technology plays in enabling businesses to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, innovate and grow.

However, as we see advancements, such as restaurants implementing QR codes for menus and payment and hospitals offering more telehealth options, companies must also address the challenge of increasing infrastructure complexity. How organisations manage their IT infrastructure will be as important in the future as the modern systems that power it.

Businesses are increasingly taking an “everything-as-a-service” approach to IT. The benefits of an as-a-service model are clear: increased IT team agility, simplified digital transformation and decreased low-value IT work.

The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2024, more than 75% of infrastructure and applications and more than half of data centre infrastructure will be consumed as a service. Thus, striking the right balance of CapEx (capital expenditures) and OpEx (operating  expenditures) to run an agile business is vital. 

In today’s cloud computing era, there are numerous reasons to take an as-a-service approach in any company’s modernisation efforts.

1. Saving capital and innovating smarter

Since the beginning of the pandemic, companies have had to reshape budgets quickly and drastically, with many having to reduce overall spend. When a company can consume IT on an as-needed basis, via an as-a-service model, it’s easier to track which projects are or aren’t working according to plan. In turn, this helps companies know where and where not to commit additional funds.

For example, a technology company investing in AI will experience major benefits. With many projects in the pipeline, funding is a challenge without visibility into which are performing successfully. If the CapEx for the projects weren’t approved during the annual budget planning timeframe, they must go through an approval process with the chief financial officer. This process is often slow and painful, with uncertain results. With an as-a-service model, the company can more easily approve spending for successful projects without making a case for large capital expenditures.

2. Gaining more data access on the edge 

From digital healthcare in hospitals to smart manufacturing, edge deployments are incredibly diverse and increasingly common. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge – outside of a traditional, centralised data centre or cloud 

An as-a-service approach helps remove limitations from edge deployments. Companies finding value in the data they access outside of their data centres are also trying to figure out how to make the best use of it. With as-a-service, companies can put their infrastructure where they get the most value from it and utilise only the resources they need.

3. Pay-for-use resources make variable workloads less challenging

It’s common for companies to have workload variability. For example, some workloads will follow a daily work schedule, such as virtual desktop infrastructure, HR systems and identity access and management systems, which are used most during employee working hours. 

On the other hand, log processing tends to happen at night when employees are offline. 

Another variable workload is cyclical utilisation, where systems recognise trends around weekly, monthly or yearly cycles. For example, accounting and sales systems have heavy loads at the end of each month, quarter and fiscal year. These workloads can be highly utilised, straining resources during their critical cycle time.

In both cases, average use is often well below ideal. Adopting an as-a-service model, and paying only for the resources used, makes it more effective running variable workloads while optimising infrastructure use. It takes the guesswork out of planning and reduces the risk of being wrong.

4. When IT is agile, so is the business

IT teams are no strangers to the “do more with less” game. It can be painful for teams who spend precious resources only to keep systems up and running. Managed services help IT free up resources to innovate and work on new projects which benefit customers. 

With infrastructure as a service, IT can minimise environmental impact, meaning IT teams don’t have to deal with decommissioning old hardware as the service provider owns the hardware. Having the ability to map computing resources to projects accurately helps eliminate much of the routine “keep the lights on” work IT experiences and makes it easier to scale teams. 

It’s safe to say the as-a-service model is the future of the modern enterprise. The four benefits outlined above are just a preview of what’s achievable when taking an OpEx versus a CapEx approach to IT. 

With enterprise IT spending in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa set to top $40-billion this year, according to the International Data Corporation, we will continue to see increased adoption of as-a-service in business strategies over the next decade as companies focus on what matters most for their business – delivering better outcomes and value-added services to customers. 

Martin Uchytil is regional sales director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Dell Financial Services

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Mail & Guardian.