Understanding Everything-as-a-service and what it means for business

I was recently invited to participate in an analyst forum with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. I always jump at the opportunity to sit down with one the largest tech firms in the world and learn a little bit about where they’re going and what they’re doing so that I can start to understand how that relates to what I do for myself, my customers, and the people I work for.

Image by HPE

The big push coming off of their annual show, HPE Discover, in 2019 all centered around their Green Lake offering and the “everything-as-a-service” mindset that HPE is taking to the market.

But what does that even mean?

What is “everything-as-a-service”? How in the world does that relate to me? How in the world does that relate to my customers?

It’s a little bit daunting to look at it from only the perspective of the last year, but if you take a look at the last 3 to 5 years and start to paint the trajectory of where they’re headed and what is trying to be built, it begins to be more clear.

Livin on the edge

It started with the edge: moving everything as far away from the center as possible. Whether that’s decentralizing transportation like Uber did, decentralizing the restaurant industry from the restaurants like GrubHub and UberEats did, or pushing voice interface devices down into our living rooms like Amazon Echo did.

Push it to the limit: Living on the Edge.

Bad music humor aside, “the edge” isn’t just a great guitarist, it’s about decisions being made by local devices, in as close to real-time as possible, to satisfy the immediate desires of the end-user. That’s the edge. And if it’s happening locally, on a device or on a local network, what’s happening at the data center side?With so many things happening outside of a server rack or data center, what’s the point in having a data center? What’s the point in having a server? Why tie yourself to pieces of hardware, made out of metal, that instantly lose value and are outdated the second they’re installed?

Look at all those hardware upgrades.

About five years ago a guy I had the pleasure of working with named Jim Tennant was talking to me about unified communications as a service. One of the things he was known for saying was that “if it’s made out of metal, it’s already outdated when you buy it.” This rang true then and it rings true now. Servers, storage, infrastructure, all of that gear is at a time where we don’t actually have to own any of it or hold it in our hands in order to use it.

With managed service providers (oh hi there Comcast! Shout out to the daily gig!) and companies like HPE providing the equipment, installing the equipment, monitoring and maintaining that equipment as a service, IT departments no longer have to worry about inventory, hardware end of life, or the associated learning curves that go along with them. Essentially, you get to do business at the speed of business, not at the speed of the least capable IT person in your technology department. Whatever the demands are, you’re a few mouse clicks away from being able to scale.

Wait just a minute

Granted, there still a lot of people that like to own the infrastructure, there are still a lot of reasons to as well depending on what you do and who you do it for, so it may not be the perfect fit for everybody.

However, if you build a business model around taking advantage of “everything as a service”, it dramatically reduces your time to market, your speed to offer services, and how quickly you can get up and running to satisfy the demand of your clients. Maybe it’s just a few services to begin with. I’m sure there’s plenty of room for a hybrid approach to doing something like this that can make sense in some aspects of your business. The cool thing to know is that it’s available. Just having the knowledge that you can get almost anything you want as a service from somebody today Should start to change the way you look at how you were growing your organization

Moving everything to the edge put the power in the hands of the users and pushed us to demand more. People no longer have to work on the timelines of others, they begin to create timelines of their own. I want my food delivered to me, where I am, when I am, and it better be there or else there are 3 or 4 other vendors they can make that happen. Having things when you want them, where you want them is no longer a “nice to have” it’s the new standard. “Everything as a service” gives you the ability to do that with your computer processing power, your storage, and the applications that are needed to power the next generation them on demand customers.

This should be pretty fun

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what the strategy and vision of HPE is and will transform to be. The cool thing about opportunities like this are that as one organization pushes, others follow. Even though this is a path that is being cut by one group, the destinations of all of them are usually the same. The future has some pretty exciting opportunities to change the way we work and the way we interact with each other with and using technology. I can’t wait to be wow’d!

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