Have you noticed an interesting growing trend that’s part of the digital economy? Just about everything is being offered “as-a-service” these days. It’s referred to as XaaS technology. Video conferencing as a service, data as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service and software as a service, are just a few of the products being offered. Thanks to cloud technology, the “as-a-service” economy has boomed in the last few years and has gone a long way to level the playing field for businesses of all sizes. In fact, many companies, especially small to medium businesses (also known as SMEs) are now recognizing the advantages of offering services virtually over the Internet.
As-a-Service Helping Companies Increase Their Value
This “as-a-service” movement is helping companies find new ways to diversify their offerings by taking advantage of new innovations and technologies including mobile, automation, artificial intelligence, analytics and the cloud. In fact, this business model has become increasingly valuable to AV companies, as well as many others, mainly due to the whole being worth much more than the sum of its parts. The as-a-service model allows companies to create plug-in, consumption-based, scalable, modular services offering customers a more customizable experience. Lastly, as-a-service products helps make business services and operations more intelligence and flexible, while at the same time being able to better support new technologies that disrupt the status quo.
Benefits of As-a-Service Products
There are several benefits for SMEs considering purchasing and using as-a-service products. One of the main benefits is the value these offerings deliver. For example, the as-a-service business model offers companies the ability to plug-in and access services at any time and from anywhere. Additionally, it offers businesses, including AV companies, new ways to mobilize and demobilize quickly as needed. Furthermore, this model is easily scalable, allowing businesses to adjust and respond quickly to market conditions. There are several other benefits including:
- Cost reduction. This is perhaps one of the primary benefits of “as-a-service” products. Since it is based on buyer demand, customers pay for only what they use instead of services they don’t need or want. This also means buyers can easily access the latest updated software instead of having to stick with outdated and ineffective applications which contributes to a much lower cost of ownership.
- Buy the services your company needs from the best providers. Another attractive benefit of the as-a-service model is that it’s an open relationship. In other words, customers don’t have to be stuck with just one provider. This offers users the option to work with several different vendors simultaneously to purchase the best solutions to address their ever evolving and changing needs. This also increases competition among providers to innovate and improve their services, ultimately benefiting customers.
- Collaborative and innovative. Success of an “as-a-service” product is based on results, meaning vendors and buyers work together to achieve mutually beneficial business outcomes. It also means product offerings will be updated frequently and consistently, which protects the buyer from unforeseen upgrade costs and changes. In addition, since these products are being continuously updated, buyers have direct and immediate access to the latest innovations and technologies, as well as expertise.
- Simplifies technology. Since today’s ever-changing technology advances can be complicated, the as-a-service business model serves to simplify and streamline. Providers are constantly working on the latest updates and strive to provide buyers with a focused menu of services. The buyer no longer needs to devote time and effort to learning and mastering every new technology. This makes adapting to new technologies easier and cuts through unnecessary clutter.
How AV Companies Are Benefitting
While SMEs from all industries are benefiting from these advancements, the audio/visual (AV) industry is realizing significant benefits from offering more “as a service” products and services. For starters, this model makes it easier to estimate business expenses accurately. With the as-a-service model, businesses can also save on the high upfront costs of many AV products, particularly those that are prone to early obsolescence, and have to be replaced by something better. Additionally, companies benefit from not having to train and constantly retrain employees each time new products are purchased and deployed. AV companies are even including remote monitoring to help detect any problems or failures and deploy appropriate solutions quickly. Lastly, because this business model is so appealing, AV companies are able to service any size company, which translates to additional business for the audio/visual industry.
As-a-Service Model Is More Agile
As-a-service products are simply more versatile and many professional AV providers are adopting this trend. Managed service providers are offering post-installation services with greater frequency. In addition, the managed services approach to AV systems also includes designing and installing audio/video systems, as well as network, cloud, software and system management services. Equipment leasing, upgrades, and maintenance are also typically included.