XaaS: The key tenets of the catalog-driven business model

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April 23, 2021

In the recent past, software, infrastructure, and Platform-as-a-service have gained immense momentum across industries. With the appetite for service consumption increasing rapidly, businesses today must recognize the Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) delivery model as an imperative. However, companies need to strategize XaaS more from a business-benefit perspective. Instead of looking at XaaS from the medium-source vantage, enterprises must take a catalog-driven approach to deliver definitive business value. However, while products can be easily delivered through catalogs, the productization of services is essential for the XaaS model to succeed.

In my last blog post, it was already established how modern-day CIOs can take a leaf out of the books of their counterparts in aviation, hospitality, and retail to introduce a catalog-driven approach to their business objectives. Modern-day CIOs have much to offer, and they must excel at being service providers by implementing XaaS at scale. In this post, I will further that message by talking about the key features of the XaaS delivery model that empower enterprise IT to facilitate greater business flexibility.

The XaaS Strategy: Productizing Services

The Everything-as-a-Service delivery model empowers both businesses and their consumers. While we are used to traditional selling and consuming, the advent of new-age retail business models has made it necessary for enterprises to revolutionize their service delivery and management. From the seller’s perspective, XaaS offers greater scalability, better service quality, and flexible pricing, adding definitive business value to the enterprise. Ultimately, consumers enjoy the benefit of choosing exactly what they need. They don’t want the headache of procuring and maintaining products and want to start and stop their service subscription of choice.

A Catalog-Driven Approach

The Everything-as-a-Service delivery model is all about “what you see is what you get”. This means that the offerings are cataloged for seamless production and consumption. The retail behemoth Amazon started out as a humble online book seller. Cataloging books taught them something very important. A catalog-driven approach is the key to offering anything as a service, at scale, and for a business premium.

The same can be emulated by enterprise IT to strengthen the journey from the design cycle to service fulfillment. In the XaaS delivery model, a catalog is the center of the universe and the business revolves around it. Even cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure have embarked on a catalog-driven service journey to offer a seamless experience and generate value on the go. It is fair to say that the de facto standard platform for the XaaS delivery model is cloud. Let us look at the various advantages that the cloud offers to businesses in their XaaS initiatives:

  • Low barriers to entry and meagre capital expenditure

The size of the provider is of little relevance in a XaaS delivery model. As long as services can be productized, literally any service can be delivered on a XaaS model. Everything from microservices to mega services can coexist in the same catalog. Similarly, the billing revenue can range from a few dollars to a few thousand dollars. This offers greater flexibility to consumers as they can subscribe to only those services that they need. Additionally, XaaS, being a cloud-based offering, eliminates the need for massive capital expenditure for enterprises. By removing various financial barriers, service providers can focus solely on expanding their portfolios.

  • High scalability

The deployment architecture of cloud-based offerings provides quick turnaround and high scalability. The XaaS delivery model thrives on a growing number of consumers by offering them an ever-increasing number of services. Enterprises that adopt the catalog-driven approach will excel at the XaaS game and scale their operations quickly, seamlessly, and effectively as their business demands.

  • Multitenancy

As multitenancy is a core tenet of cloud computing, service providers use the same platform to produce and deliver their services to multiple consumers. While the consumers are logically separated from one another, they are governed by the same service standards and SLAs. Businesses will benefit from multi-tenancy as it ensures standardization of service quality at a lower cost, resulting in improved customer experience.

  • Device and location independence

The inherent nature of the XaaS delivery model is such that service end points have no bearing on where or which device is being used to consume the services. By design, the services are device-agnostic and can be consumed anywhere in the world, offering consumers greater flexibility. This flexibility is beneficial for all stakeholders, with businesses enjoying greater outreach, and consumers enjoying higher ease of use.

  • Infrastructure fault tolerance

As is the case with other aspects of life, even the XaaS delivery model is susceptible to service failures. But, in this age of rapid technology innovation, service designs can be made failsafe with the help of containers and microservices in application building and deployment. The obvious outcome of this is long-term service consistency and fewer, shorter, and less impactful disruptions for enterprises.

With everything offered as a service, utility models will invariably become pervasive. Consumers will demand more and more niche services focused on very specific outcomes. The market will see a large number of niche service creators conveniently catering to the growing appetite of consumers. We shall see new entities emerge in the service delivery chain taking services closer to the consumers.

DRYiCE™ SX: Catalog Aggregation for Seamless Service Delivery

At HCL, we recognize the growing need for catalog aggregation to ensure service delivery excellence. In that quest, we have developed a bouquet of future-ready automation and service orchestration solutions under the flagship of DRYiCE software. One of those solutions is DRYiCE SX, which focuses on catalog aggregation for accelerated service delivery and improved user experience while searching and ordering services on a single system of engagement. This offers service providers a greater ease of adding self-serviceable actions while publishing content. Thus, consumers get a greater degree of self-help during service consumption. SX is a definitive step toward giving your enterprise IT business the fast-moving experience of e-commerce.

Click here to learn more about DRYiCE SX.

Prafull Verma

Prafull Verma, Fellow and Chief Architect – DRYiCE Software

Prafull has been working with HCL for over 12 years. During his tenure, he has co-created and co-led HCL Gold Standard, HCL Gold Blueprint Platform, and HCL SIAM Framework. He has extensive expertise in service management application for any service relationship management scenario – with a wide scope, beyond IT. He has authored several methodologies and frameworks for IT service management including multivendor ITIL® frameworks, ITSM for cloud computing, and service integration.