XaaS: 10 Recommendations for the Road to Anything-as-a-Service


Accenture has published a study for traditional businesses that face a future where they will have to consider offering almost anything-as-a-service (XaaS).

Where the Cloud Meets Reality: Scaling to Succeed in New Business Models, consists of interviews with more than 40 senior executives from 30 companies that operate, or are building new services companies that include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud-based businesses.

Accenture uses XaaS as a way to bundle the different cloud layers. But does the term XaaS make sense? I am starting to think so. It may be just the right way for the CIO to develop a foundation understanding that focuses more on what should become a service more than anything else.

And that service may really be just about anything.  Accenture predicts technology companies will have five or more business models by 20125.

Apple is  a good example of a company diversifying its business. It has meant selling its line of computers, extending into mobile and then using those devices to become the ultimate media broker.  Dell is a company now facing a transformation to a services company. It is developing IaaS offerings and managed services programs. With its line of servers it sells storage and networking.  It is extending into the software business. It recently outsourced Crowbar,  which manages such task as the Hadoop deployment from the initial server boot to the configuration of the primary Hadoop components. This allows for bare-metal deployments that can be done in hours instead of days.

Like the data that comes with it, the cloud touches every aspect of a business. That means considerable upheaval. For example, data privacy and security will take on a different scope for the software company turning to services. Agile development methodologies are better suited than Waterfall development processes for the continuous improvements needed when offering an online service such as a SaaS.

Accenture provides ten recommendations for companies embarking on this path.  Here they are. The report is available for download. It gives an explanation for each of its recommendations and includes case studies of companies such as Salesforce.com and Right Now, two SaaS providers.