The world has changed significantly in the last 20 months. As organizations continue to shift to digital operations, the pursuit of digital transformation has been accelerated. In addition to streamlining support for a remote workforce, companies are focusing on prioritizing their customers in the digital space as well.
As your small business makes decisions about how to pivot to customer-first companies and expand your services digitally, you’ll come across many options for your services. They all come with great acronyms: SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, and finally XaaS.
A relatively new term, XaaS (Anything as a Service) describes the shift from a product mindset to a service one — and usually accompanies a focus on driving more value and delivering successful outcomes for customers. It represents transitioning all services and software into digital technology, allowing companies to better serve their customers. And it includes more than a suite of digital solutions as a peripheral strategy — XaaS describes a shift to the core business model itself.
For most small businesses, XaaS (Anything as a Service) represents an alignment of digital transformation and customer growth strategies. Through this business model, all customer offerings can be accessed from anywhere. Scalability is a given, too, thus making development efforts cost-effective in the long run. Small businesses can leverage XaaS strategies to achieve digital transformation and cutting-edge customer solutions through one integrated and comprehensive initiative.
A shift to XaaS requires a restructuring of more than just your digital assets. You’ll need to bring in key decision-makers to understand how this affects their operations and workflows as well. We recommend starting with several considerations before getting started:
- Startup costs, including infrastructure changes and costs for communicating these changes throughout your organization and to other key stakeholders, like customers and partners
- Maintenance costs, which for most focuses on cloud-based infrastructure and cloud services costs
- Your Return on Investment for these costs through the alignment of long-term goals
- Operational changes within your organization as a result of an evolving business model
- Security measures and other technology-based assurances
With these in mind, know that the advantages of using XaaS platforms are many and far-reaching for small businesses.
The XaaS business model offers a new approach to growing and attracting new business by letting small firms simultaneously increase the range and value of their offerings. XaaS provides customers with access to resources and data from anywhere, allowing small businesses to scale faster and provide their audiences with high-end technology. By offering experiences rather than products, XaaS can add to existing layers of services. Small businesses can then improve performance aand long-term client relationships in ways previously only available to larger corporations.
With a XaaS strategy customized to your business, you can immediately improve the way that your operations work. Your team can better store and harness the power of your data, drive agility in your decisions, and focus on real-time engagement with key stakeholders. By streamlining remote-based operations, you can empower and recruit employees from anywhere with a WiFi signal, leading to a more engaged workforce and a stronger talent pool.
While the initial investment is absolutely critical to a transition to XaaS, most small businesses will see long-term cost savings. In addition to transitioning away from in-house infrastructure, hardware, and on-premise software, your company can reap the benefits of cloud-based solutions including a model in which you pay for what you use when you use it.
Your business is free to expand into new markets and customer bases using the XaaS model coupled with a foundation of cloud technology and integrated software. With access to innovative services in the cloud, you can accelerate building new applications and offerings, leading to more innovation in your business.
Transitioning to a XaaS model is a massive undertaking for any business. The shift can take months or even years from start to finish. The planning process is critical, so do your research, and consider leveraging a trusted consulting partner to help guide you.
- Define your vision and goals: What does your company look like now, and how should that change? Identify concrete quantitative and qualitative growth. These can include customer growth metrics, customer satisfaction scores, response rates, and more.
- Conduct market research: What are other businesses in your space trying? If you can’t find any, don’t be afraid to be an innovator, but consider borrowing strategies from other industries.
- Develop and validate a value proposition: How will a XaaS model improve your business? How will this improve relationships with your customers, partners, and other core stakeholders?
- Identify and select a starting point: As a full overhaul can take a significant time investment, we recommend starting with one concrete initiative to establish best practices and serve as both a project morale booster and proof of concept. Consider a low-risk starting point that offers a high return, if possible. For example, if your customers are asking for a digital solution and you know it could be profitable, start there.
- Plan for change management and onboarding: Multiple departments will be involved in a transition to XaaS, so start planning for changes early. We find that involving representatives from each group in the planning and testing phases make deployments much smoother and helps influence a greater adoption throughout the business.
- Evaluate your success: Following deployment, keep a close eye on the KPIs you established in the planning process. Are you hitting your goals? Make adjustments where needed. Share your successes across your business to drive enthusiasm in the second stage of your XaaS strategy.
Implementing a XaaS strategy can be overwhelming and requires careful planning. Some small businesses build entirely new teams for this process. Others carefully select partners for their XaaS journey to help them build an objective outlook and strategy. Our team provides consulting and development services to help your business maintain customer relationships, connect data centers and increase profitability. We deliver smart, customized solutions that drive successful outcomes. Make your company more agile, competitive, and sustainable with a trusted partner committed to your success. Contact our team to learn more about how we empower our clients with XaaS strategies.