Every day, new technology emerges with the potential for “digital transformation.” Smart leaders stay current -; and choosy -; ready to embrace or reject fresh solutions. Considering their ubiquity and incredible potential, as-a-service companies are a great option for business leaders to embrace.

The name originates in software as a service, a model of distributing and licensing software. It works through subscriptions and software hosted by the company but delivered through the cloud. After the initial success of the SaaS model, related approaches in the IT world began to emerge: platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, and numerous others.

The trend isn't limited to IT, though. Uber and Lyft are offering rides as a service. That’s not exactly new (it’s what taxis and buses have been doing forever), but what is new is the efficiency of integrating ride services with apps. There are now countless service-based companies, including Airbnb, dog-walking services, or nearly anything else imaginable.

For many businesses, the greatest value is in offloading complex yet vital components of one’s operations -; particularly data storage, analysis, and insights -; to third party vendors. That value may be why the insights-as-a-service market is expected to grow beyond $3 billion a year in 2021.

The as-a-service model works so well because it allows companies to focus on their strengths -; which is when real growth happens. Take advantage of these services and realize cost savings, increased efficiency, and improved customer engagement. Let’s look at three ways your brand can embrace this model.

1. Refine facilities.

Facilities are vitally important and yet rarely within one’s business wheelhouse. Consider outsourcing some of these concerns to as-a-service companies.

What about lighting? It’s easy to overlook, but it affects brick-and-mortar businesses in key areas: curb appeal, atmosphere, productivity, and safety. Having less-than-perfect lighting isn't acceptable, but technological advances in the industry -; particularly the rise of LED lightbulbs and smart technology -; mean it makes sense to consider companies that specialize in lighting.

Today’s lighting-as-a-service vendors provide significant savings for many businesses. For example, EverWatt does this by installing the lights for free and then collecting a monthly fee over four years. It can work out in your company's favor because EverWatt's monthly fee combined with reduced utility bills still leads to lower costs over time.

2. Impart IT infrastructure.

Anyone who has worked with systems and servers knows: It’s easy to get bogged down with technical challenges. Instead, your company should be free to focus on creative breakthroughs.

Gartner describes infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, as the fastest-growing segment of the cloud market: It's expected to grow 27.6 percent this year and reach $39.5 billion. That shouldn’t surprise anyone because IaaS is a no-brainer for many businesses. From providing virtual computing, server space, hosting applications and more, IaaS can offer so much to simplify your IT concerns.

One of the most immediate advantages of IaaS is not having to maintain costly and hacker-vulnerable server equipment. The obvious example of an IaaS offering is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, which enables companies to host their infrastructure needs on Amazon’s equipment. The key selling point is its scalability: Smaller companies can start with modest needs and then scale up if they become the next startup unicorn.

3. Offer customers more value.

Consider the disruption of having to stop using a company’s app or website to place a phone call for person-to-person assistance. What if your customers could instead call, text, or even video chat from within your app? This impressive, modern customer experience is possible thanks to communication platforms as a service or CPaaS.

These vendors offer ways to add voice, messaging, video, or other communications channels to your online presence -; while integrating seamlessly with your existing software architecture. Adding that functionality on your own would create significant development and maintenance costs.

Instead, you could use a CPaaS vendor such as Bandwidth or OnSIP. Through a CPaaS vendor's cloud-based platform, your developers can incorporate ways to communicate in real time without any need to change the back-end infrastructure of your existing applications.

As-a-service companies will be a game-changer for many brands in the coming years. Don’t miss out. Start looking today for ways to offload the hassle of basic operations to third-party vendors, allowing you to focus on what you do best.

Published on: Apr 8, 2019
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