With so many people jumping on, the wheels are about to break on the “as-a-service” (aaS) bandwagon. We’re being inundated with as-a-service this, that and the other thing. Among the aaS offerings we were able to find without trying too hard were Location-as-a-Service, Identity-as-a-Service, Logon-as-a-Service, Voice-as-a-Service, Globalization-as-a-Service, Technology-as-a-Service (really) and Humans-as-a-Service (REALLY, but not what you may think).
The latest we’ve seen was Integration Platform-as-a-Service (IPaaS). An unscientific poll conducted internally to determine familiarity with the term yielded the following results: Yes, 0 percent; Huh? 100 percent. It must be real, however, since Gartner has bestowed Magic Quadrant status upon it.
We wonder if some of this is cloud washing 2.0, a repackaging of existing products and renaming with an “as-a-Service” name. In other words, “Whatever-as-a-Service” or WaaS. Without a doubt, some is “BSaaS”, coming from marketing departments trying to claw out a quasi-believable angle to legitimize a place in the cloud ecosystem.
On the other hand, some of it – probably most of it, actually – represents the natural course of cloud maturity, a refinement of customers’ expectations of cloud services and the industry’s desire to respond – or to anticipate– by recognizing a niche and claiming leadership. You have to respect that. It demonstrates that the industry is working to help customers find ways to use cloud services in more effective, productive ways – as a tool that drives business success and not an end unto itself.
This is a lot for prospective cloud users to sort through, understand and make informed choices about, however. It’s an increasingly complex marketplace. First, it was just the Big Three – Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). They were joined by Desktop, Disaster Recovery, Storage and Security ─ all as services. Now the floodgates are open.
Something like an IPaaS would likely attract a sophisticated consumer of cloud services well up on the adoption curve and in need of specialized services. If it works as promised, IPaaS may find its way into the common vernacular and ultimately onto the cloud services check-off list.
But, first things first. There is no getting around the fact that a solid and secure cloud services platform upon which to build is the first order of business. And, that platform must grow and adapt as the user’s future needs, wants and desires take shape. For that, it’s best to be with an IaaS provider who has been there many times before, and who can be with you for all the aaS implementations that follow.