When building out an organization’s technology roadmap, it’s impossible to not mention Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or the collective term, Anything as a Service (XaaS) which we’ll use here.
This is primarily due to the ways businesses are looking to maintain a predictable spend on IT while increasing scalability and flexibility. With this mindset, there has been the proverbial IT pendulum swing from Capital Expenditure (CapEx) to Operational Expense (OpEx) in how organizations consume services and infrastructure.
Even outside of technology, almost every vendor has or is planning to shift to a subscription-based service model to provide organizations these OpEx type services the way they want to consume them.
While the average household is subscribed to nine subscription services ranging from movies to music to games, businesses have twice that many. With that many subscriptions, there often is overlap and features that aren’t being used.
To maximize your technology spend, it is recommended to closely track your Anything as a Service (XaaS) spending, understand what additional features you’re paying for but not using, and consolidate redundant services.
Tracking XaaS Spending
Start by building out a table of all XaaS, which includes the name of the service, business requirement it’s solving and cost. This step will take time but is critical to ensure the review is thorough as it should capture all dollars spent.
With the abundance of cloud-based applications and ease of use, Shadow IT exiasts in almost every organization. Shadow IT refers to technology being purchased and implemented without explicit knowledge or approval from IT. This impacts not only security for the company but usually results in owning redundant services that IT provides.
For this reason, other departments besides IT should be included when building out the comprehensive list.
Evaluate Additional Features Included in Current Spend
It’s essential to understand all the features of the XaaS you are paying for, as the service was most likely purchased to solve a specific issue but can be more widely deployed in your environment.
An example of this is Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Anti-Virus (AV). If you have the correct level of Microsoft 365 licensing, you are paying for these features even though you purchased the Microsoft licensing initially for email. It’s common to discover additional enhancements that are nice to have (analytics, additional security, etc.) but not business-critical.
Consolidate Redundant Services
Once you have a complete XaaS list and the additional use cases they can solve, it’s time to identify which ones are redundant. When discussing Shadow IT, it’s normal to see departments purchase software, believing that IT doesn’t have an acceptable option even though the organization is already paying for similar services.
It’s also common to pay for two different pieces of software for two different needs that one vendor could handle for a lower price. Most of the time, it’s more affordable to pay an additional upcharge for a software add-on than it is to pay for two different base subscriptions.
Your budget will get out of hand if you’re not careful with your XaaS spending. While there are more ways to protect your technology investment, the important thing is that you create a plan and action right away.