Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) and Its Impact on Training
The training industry is undergoing a major shift in how it delivers services. The shift is influenced by a trend within the last decade in which companies began to license software hosted on the cloud using a subscription (i.e., software-as-a-service, or SaaS). Today, the SaaS delivery model is being used for many business and consumer applications, including training-as-a-service (TaaS).
XaaS: Where it All Began
We can’t begin to talk about TaaS without discussing everything-as-a-service (XaaS).
XaaS is rooted in the IT field, representing the variety of services and applications that have emerged for users to access – on demand – any product or service over the internet. Those familiar with SaaS and the ubiquity of cloud computing have witnessed the expansion of this model to a variety of other service industries, including infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service and so on.
XaaS represents today’s fast, ready-made, drag-and-drop way of consuming almost any product or service available. The popularity of XaaS demonstrates a significant shift in how products and services are delivered and consumed. Consequently, businesses that don’t embrace the XaaS model risk becoming irrelevant or obsolete.
What Makes a Business “XaaS”
Traditional XaaS services were delivered by technology-based companies rooted in the cloud. However, being an XaaS business does not require delivering your product or service on the cloud. Rather, XaaS represents a methodology of how products and services are delivered.
Here are a few important attributes and benefits that distinguish a XaaS business:
- No investment and lower costs to consumers: XaaS relieves customers of the need to own any assets at all, including infrastructure, hardware and software. It removes the burden of setup, training and maintenance as well. Customers don’t need any big capital expenditures or extra resources to manage assets.
- Scalability and flexibility: XaaS allows customers to scale up or down to meet changing needs. It also allows them to access the latest technology and to take advantage of only the features they need.
- On-demand: Users can call up an XaaS anytime and anywhere.
- Subscription-based: XaaS is typically usage-based; users can choose a time-bound service contract with a mix of services and support included.
XaaS’ Impact on the Training Industry
XaaS has a significant impact on the training industry, mostly in the form of opportunities for suppliers. Many supplier organizations mired in traditional services have moved to TaaS in response to customer demand. For example, MicroTek has embraced TaaS with its hybrid learning delivery model, the Next Generation Classroom.
Focus on Relationships
As more XaaS offerings emerge, it is going to be even more important to nurture customer relationships. This means changing old mindsets from selling products and services to facilitating customer success outcomes. Infusing high-touch opportunities and fostering customer loyalty are critical. The more invested TaaS businesses are in their customers’ success, the more successful they will be as a company.
There is no end in sight of the tremendous impact XaaS will continue to have on business in general. For the training industry, it’s time suppliers start embracing its many benefits and look at how to incorporate XaaS into their own business models for future success.
Hugh McCullen is president of MicroTek, where he is responsible for expanding the company’s customer services portfolio and global presence while accelerating its ability to provide best-in-class training solutions designed to enhance the learner experience.