Paying for experience, not assets

Issue 8 2021 IT infrastructure, Security Services & Risk Management, Industrial (Industry)

George Senzere.

Organisations today are increasingly demanding more value, improved operations and positive business results. One way to close this gap is to deliver ‘as-a-service’ programmes to meet the above with predictable, consistent and reliable outcomes.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has emerged as a feasible option that maintains crucial infrastructure such as IT, power consumption and business continuity while organisations focus on their core business.

In South Africa, we are seeing an increase in IaaS adoption with managed service providers delivering innovative, critical infrastructure services. And the benefits are numerous, particularly to those businesses that require consistent secure power and IT to operate at peak performance.

Why IaaS makes sense now

In the case of IT infrastructure, organisations often have to commit to considerable capex to not only acquire the technology, but also maintain it. These projects are frequently subject to long lead times (to acquire and install the assets) and then establish dedicated teams to maintain it.

Here, managed service providers can play a valuable role as they own the infrastructure and manage it on behalf of the organisation. This means the organisation not only saves on acquisition and installation time, but only pays for what it is uses, be it secure power, IT infrastructure or cooling or all the above.

Organisations are now freed to focus on their core business while the experts service and manage the infrastructure. This also enables businesses to predict their monthly expenditure and manage their operation costs accordingly.

The provision of secure power is another important IaaS benefit. Secure power provides critical protection to IT infrastructure and importantly, business continuity. It enables organisations to operate while mitigating the potential loss of business earnings.

At its core, secure power provides clean, continuous power and encompasses equipment such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), standby generators, automatic voltage regulators and so forth.

When this infrastructure is then delivered to organisation on an IaaS basis, it is then called Secure Power as a Service (SPaaS).

Schneider Electric has seen SPaaS starting to enjoy some uptake, albeit on a smaller scale. Managed service providers are now starting to provide secure power to customers using, for example, a pool of single-phase UPSs installed on site. The organisation is then billed on a monthly basis for the usage of the SPaaS.

There is no doubt that the local marketplace is ready to, in earnest, start adopting SPaaS. The world is moving towards a consumption economy where it only pays for the experience and not for the assets that enable it.

Practically, IaaS and SPaaS address the following challenges:

• Existing assets may come to end of life which will require huge capex and time to modernise.

• IT and electrical loads are unpredictable and unfortunately organisations are oversizing equipment as opposed to running fit-for-purpose secure power solutions.

• Operating and maintenance costs are becoming increasingly unpredictable.

• Capital equipment requests impose huge demands on time from teams and detracts them from focusing on their core business.

• Asset tracking is also a challenge that requires sizeable teams and resources.

IaaS and SPaaS provide the tools to deliver predictable infrastructure costs. Ultimately, the efficiency of the business and the assets are maximised with agile provisioning that effectively manage business requirements and capacities.

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