Outsourcing business systems and processes is increasingly appealing to the modern business owner, and therefore the landscape of anything-as-a-service (XaaS) vendors is growing as many new and old players are upping their game by providing a must more alluring opex payment model.
Also known as everything as a service, XaaS refers to the availability of various services over the internet through cloud computing, instead of being provided by an enterprise within the premises, according to IMARC Group. It is an extension of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
The global XaaS market is expected to exceed $344 billion by 2024, according to IMARC. Based on the service area, the market has been classified into storage as a service, security as a service, unified communications as a service, network as a service, database as a service and backend as a service, it said.
We spoke with analysts, a member of the Channel Partners Editorial Advisory Board and other experts to find out what it takes to succeed in XaaS.
Almost anything we consume nowadays is on a subscription basis, and C-level decision makers are jumping on board with this, said Anish Patel, TBI‘s vice president of emerging technologies.
TBI’s Anish Patel
“XaaS companies see this shift and want to capitalize on the market opportunity; hence, growth is primarily from a revenue perspective,” he said. “New entrants will always come into the market, but the top-tier XaaS companies have established a dominating presence.”
Juan Fernandez, vice president of managed IT services for Image Net Consulting, said cutting-edge XaaS providers are the ones that are finding deliverables through creative innovation.
“We see many new technology solutions we never have seen before, such as fully provisioned desktops as a service (DaaS), AI-enabled support as a service [and] full PaaS solutions that allow you to reboot a physical desktop and obtain a refreshed operating system,” he said. “So many new and exciting offerings are coming from cutting-edge thinkers.”
Patrick Graves, TetraVX‘s vice president of sales, said the number of XaaS providers is accelerating as the barrier to entry is becoming less prominent and demand is high. TetraVX also has had success in the XaaS realm.
TetraVX’s Patrick Graves
“Niche players are developing XaaS solutions to address specific business needs,” he said. “Those organizations will become acquisition targets as the market matures and they begin to acquire customers. The major players will need to develop competencies around M&A to address time-to-market/first-mover advantage considerations as they race to gain market share.”
Rick Beckers, CEO of XaaS1 and editorial advisory board member, said the competitive marketplace has been becoming move convergent over the past two years.
XaaS1’s Rick Beckers
“Data MSP offerings are being picked up by telecom agents,” he said. “Telecom solutions are being picked up by MSPs. Even traditional consulting-based solutions like compliance and security are rapidly being bundled and packaged into as-a-service offerings that make it possible for everyone to offer them into their customer base. It is my opinion that [the] 2020 Channel Partners Conference and Expo in Las Vegas will be where everyone will look back and say, ‘That was the point in time where the lines were so completely blurred’ as it pertains to everyone embracing XaaS as their business model.”
We’ve compiled a list, in alphabetical order, of 20 XaaS providers that are making the most of the current competitive landscape and charting success. By no means a list including all providers, the list offers a mix of well-known suppliers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in XaaS.
Click through our gallery below.
Fernandez cites Auvik
's managed network as a service as a top XaaS solution. Auvik provides network management software for IT MSPs, and in December expanded its collaboration with Cisco to give MSPs additional insight into the status of Cisco network devices.
"To be a truly successful and cutting-edge XaaS provider, the organization needs to stay on top of the current market trends and have a holistic view of your customer demands," Graves said. "It’s also imperative that the provider is in tune with the latest technology stacks that impact how a client does business. They need the ability to design, deploy and support a solution built for specific customer challenges and business processes, while providing SLAs for uptime and performance."AWS
Amazon Web Services (AWS
) is cited by IMARC as a major XaaS player. It offers more than 175 services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, ML and AI, IoT, mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment and management.
Big Switch NetworksBig Switch
, a cloud-first networking company, also cited by IMARC as a major XaaS player. The company provides data-center switching, visibility and analytics solutions for on-premises clouds, public clouds and multicloud environments.
"No matter what the as-a-service is, the experience the user has is paramount in success for a vendor," Patel said. "If we look at the services that are available at a ‘finger’s length’ to consumers, business owners are looking for the same ease of use when consuming those services. It must be accessible any time and anywhere." Continuum
Fernandez cited Continuum
for help desk, security operations center (SOC) and tech as a service. ConnectWise acquired Continuum
last fall, along with ITBoost.
"The X in XaaS is the variable; there are no limits to the X," Fernandez said. "We see all versions of as-a-service offerings, some old like HaaS – hardware-as-a service – PaaS [and] IaaS. The neat thing about technology is it can evolve to do anything we can think of, and so we are seeing so many new things like DRaaS, CaaS — compliance, cloud, communications-as-a-service. The list goes on and on. The X moves the initial limitation to an infinite amount of possibilities."
IMARC cites CipherCloud
as a major XaaS player. CipherCloud said it introduced the industry’s first cloud access security broker (CASB) solution to the market in 2011, providing the "deepest levels" of data protection and real-time data access control cloud security and compliance problems. This week, CipherCloud announced the availability of CASB+ for Slack
, allowing secure collaboration and communication for the messaging application.dinCloud
Fernandez cited dinCloud
for its DaaS. dinCloud helps organizations migrate to the cloud through a network of VARs and MSPs.
"Effective XaaS solutions are ones that meet the customers’ needs of tomorrow," he said. "If the needs met are only met for the issues and problems they are having today, well, frankly they aren’t worth implementing. The effective solutions are moving the needle for the customer; they are solutions that they didn’t know they needed, a complete solution with a long-term plan of success and security."
Fernandez cited Faction
for its IaaS. It offers private, public and hybrid cloud solutions through channel partners.
"The solution needs to effectively balance the line between all factory and completely custom," Graves said. "Solutions need to meet the majority of the market needs, while simultaneously being able to address those 'corner case' business needs that can drive true differentiation, especially in certain verticals."Google
Patel cited Google, saying it probably has one of the best AI and ML
platforms in the industry, making it easier to quickly adapt these technologies to drive compelling uses cases in the insurance, banking, retail and health care industries.
"Getting the actual service implemented and integrated with existing systems is important for the success of an XaaS vendor," Patel said. "The modern business owner wants it turned on without even knowing it’s been turned on. It must enhance and optimize current business process without disrupting the culture and productivity."
Fernandez cited HP's device as a service (DaaS), its Sure Sense, an AI-based malware defense solution, analytics and proactive management. Xerox launched a hostile takeover
of HP, and so far HP isn't budging.
"Speed to market, dependability, good user experience, good user interface, smooth implementation and tight security are all good descriptors of an effective XaaS provider," Patel said.
IMARC cites IBM as a major XaaS player. Last month, IBM and Cisco unveiled
a pair of managed private cloud services aimed at customers looking for the utility of a public cloud delivered on premises.
Fernandez cited Intermedia
for its UCaaS. Its solutions include the all-in-one cloud communications and collaboration platform, Intermedia Unite, Intermedia Contact Center, web and video conferencing, file sharing and backup, business email, security, archiving and more.
The number of XaaS providers is accelerating, "but not as fast as you would think," he said.
"They are all having to learn this new model and adopt the change, understand how to position it and then be able to offer it," Fernandez said. "To get set up to make it happen and work well takes time, so the acceleration is slow but steady."
Fernandez cited IT Glue's documentation as a service. Kaseya acquired IT Glue late last year. At last fall's GlueX conference, IT Glue announced the first of several new password-related features, one being Password Folders, providing improved organization of passwords for MSPs. The first phase of an integration with QuickPass also was announced, allowing MSPs to automatically update active directory passwords and record them in IT Glue.
IMARC cites Juniper Networks
, which provides networking and cybersecurity solutions, as a leading XaaS player. Last November, Juniper unveiled enhancements
to its global partner program designed to help partners expand their business, drive value and capitalize on the major growth areas in enterprise IT.
Graves cited Microsoft
as a successful XaaS provider.
"Major players in the unified communication and collaboration space that are evolving their offerings with the input of customer wants and needs are organization like Microsoft, solving the collaboration challenges we see in multiple industries with the Microsoft Teams platform," he said.
IMARC cites Oracle
as a major XaaS player. This month, Oracle announced
it has added local cloud regions in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands. It already opened 10 cloud regions in the last six months, and now has Oracle's Generation 2 Cloud available in 21 fully independent locations. It plans to have 36 cloud regions available by the end of 2020.
Orange Business Services
IMARC cited Orange Business Services
as a major XaaS player. Last month, Orange announced it was selected by Mars to build an intelligent automated network that will connect more than 125,000 Mars associates across more than 80 countries. The network will provide a platform to host business applications, while supporting manufacturing operations, office locations and supplier interactions for the business.
Patel said Salesforce
is a dominant SaaS CRM platform used by more than 150,000 customers globally.
"The power of Salesforce is not only in the features, but numerous third-party integrations like ServiceNow
, another SaaS IT service management platform," he said. "For example, when a new account is created in Salesforce, that record can be synchronized with ServiceNow, which in turn notifies the support team that this particular customer record is eligible for support. This ultimately drives internal efficiency while providing a better customer experience."
Fernandez cited SentinelOne
for its endpoint security as a service.
"A successful XaaS vendor provides a technology service that solves customer business problems and delivers that solution in a channel-only subscription-based method," Beckers said. "Beyond that there are several key components that I look for that allow the agent partner (MSP/VAR/telecom agent/computer consultant) the ability to stay engaged with the customer even after the sale. That means that the agent has access to management consoles for the purpose of scaling the solution, optimizing its performance and diagnosing issues that the end-user customer might have during the period of subscription usage. And all of this must happen in a flexible billing model that provides the agent with ample margin to be incentivized to sell and support it. Niche solutions are preferred over commoditized offerings. That allows the agent to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack. And having a marketing-in-a-box solution for the agent to use will certainly make it easier for the agent to go to market and win business."
Fernandez cites Unitrends
for its backup/DRaaS. Kaseya acquired Unitrends
"Envision the customers’ needs as pawns on a chess board, consider all the moves it will take to win and then once you understand all the needs/moves, create the HaaS, SaaS, DRaaS, DaaS, SECaaS, compliance-as-a-service solution that will solve the customers' problems and needs for years to come," he said.
Fernandez cites WatchGuard
for its PaaS. Last month, WatchGuard announced it’s expanding its flexible payment option
that allows partners to buy security hardware and services with a monthly subscription. WatchGuard Subscription is a pay-as-you-go option that expands the vendor’s current FlexPay program that offers one- and three-year fixed term contracts and MSSP prepaid points.