What Are These "As a Service" Models?

The “As a service” technology trend is has been on the rise, and for good reason.  This model allows for scalability, predictability, and reliability for businesses of all sizes; and really brings small business to the playing field. Services that were once only attainable to enterprise-level corporations are now available to businesses of all sizes thanks to this model.

There are 3 different models for ‘as a service.’ In all cases, responsibility of technology is shifted to the cloud service provider; freeing the customer of those responsibilities. All other service offerings fall into one of three:

Software as a Service

Traditionally, software was installed on one computer and accessed from that computer only. Cloud based software allows users to access the programs needed from the internet- allowing access from anywhere with an internet connection. When new software is released, those with software as a service have an easy transition as the software does not need reinstalled- its updates are automated and facilitated by the service provider.

Hardware as a Service

The end user, or the customer, does not own their computers and other hardware. Hardware has a lifecycle from 4 to 6 years. With hardware as a service, computers and hardware are replaced as the specific technology’s cycle warrants. The customer does not own the hardware; taking the responsibility of updating, maintaining, and replacing off of the customer.

Infrastructure as a Service

The customer does not own the server and other networking equipment. The responsibility of housing, running and maintaining the equipment is up to the service provider. Routine preventative maintenance and service is included in this service model.

An Analogy

‘As a Service model’ can be compared to the plumbing in your house. It is a stretch, but bear with us as it will help us illustrate how the different “as a service” models work.  The pipes throughout your home are the networking equipment. The faucets, water heater, sinks, and showers are the computers and hardware. The water that flows through the system is the software. If your pipes break, a service technician would come repair the pipes and the customer does not pay out of pocket; the service is covered in the monthly agreement.  As soon as the next generation of faucets and water heaters were available, they would be replaced per the agreement. And lastly, the water (the software) would be continually updated as soon as there was better quality water available- for the same price.

Users of this service pay a low and predictable monthly installment to receive the regular maintenance, updates, and replacements. This model makes sense, and here’s the stretch, but not so much for plumbing. Plumbing has remained relatively the same for decades. There are not far better options and upgrades in plumbing every four to six years. For these reasons, plumbing as a service does not make sense. Technology as a service does make sense. Technology is rapidly changingThe technology of ten years ago would not work for most businesses today. “As a service” keeps business’ technology current and healthy.

Why does as a service make sense for small business?

Technology changes so quickly, so replacing it every 4 to 6 years gets costly. The ‘as a service’ model takes the pressure off businesses to regularly replace technology; instead, technology is routinely replaced under the ‘as a service’ agreement. The technology of ten years ago would not work for most businesses today. “As a service” keeps business’ technology current and healthy.

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