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Four ways an infrastructure-as-a-service approach accelerates business speed

Over the last 18 months, technology has enabled businesses to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions, innovate and grow.

However, as businesses adopt new solutions, companies must also address the challenge of increasing infrastructure complexity and outdated processes.

Research from Dell Technologies and IDG reveals IT and business leaders across Australia and New Zealand are experiencing challenges with their existing procurement IT infrastructure models and management tools.

Almost all the leaders surveyed (97%) said that traditional infrastructure procurement models were standing in the way of change, citing problems such as high upfront and ongoing costs, limited control over infrastructure, and complex management and storage requirements.

To address these challenges, businesses are increasingly taking an ‘everything as a service' approach to IT. With 62% planning to increase their spending on storage and compute in the next year, many are looking at as-a-Service (IaaS) procurement models as a starting point.

The benefits of an IaaS model are clear: improved software, hardware and support, and reduced capacity costs, along with the ability to align costs with infrastructure and improve business outcomes.

Here are four key advantages of moving to an as-a-service model.

#1 Smart innovation to save capital
Since the beginning of the pandemic companies have had to reshape budgets quickly and drastically, with many having to reduce overall spend. When a company can consume IT on an as-needed basis via an as-a-service model, it's easier to track which projects are or aren't working according to plan. In turn, this helps companies know where and where not to commit additional funds.

For example, a technology company investing in AI will experience major benefits. With many projects in the pipeline, funding is a challenge without visibility into which are performing successfully. If the CapEx for the projects weren't approved during the annual budget planning timeframe, they must go through an approval process with the CFO. This process is often slow and painful with uncertain results.

With an as-a-service model, the company can more easily approve spending for successful projects without making a case for a large capital expenditure.

#2 Gaining more data access on the edge
From digital healthcare in hospitals to smart manufacturing, edge deployments are incredibly diverse and increasingly common. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge – outside of a traditional, centralised data center or cloud.

An as-a-service approach helps remove limitations from edge deployments. Companies finding value in the data they access outside of their data centers are also trying to figure out how to make the most use of it. With as-a-service, companies can put their infrastructure where they gain the most value and only use the resources they need.

For railroad companies, maintenance is critical to keep trains running. If one train is delayed for repairs, it likely must wait for other trains to finish using the tracks before continuing on its journey, having a cascading effect on profitability. Maintenance has a significant impact on delivery times, customer satisfaction and costs.

Moving to an as-a-service model, a railroad company built trackside edge locations that visually inspect train cars in real-time as they pass by monitoring stations along the tracks. As a result, they reduced 16 hours of inspection time to eight minutes without the train needing to stop.

#3 Pay-for-use resources make utilisation easier to manage
It's common for companies to have workload variability. For example, some workloads will follow a daily work schedule like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), HR systems and identity access and management systems, which are used most during employee working hours. On the other hand, log processing tends to happen at night when employees are offline.

Another variable workload is cyclical utilisation, where systems recognise trends around weekly, monthly or yearly cycles. For example, accounting and sales systems have heavy loads at the end of each month, quarter and fiscal year. These workloads can be highly utilised, straining resources during their critical cycle time.

In both cases, average utilisation is often well below ideal. Adopting an as-a-service model and paying only for the resources used makes it more effective to run variable workloads and optimise infrastructure and storage utilisation.

For 98% of business leaders, surveyed by IDG and Dell Technologies, costs for managing and procuring storage don't currently align with usage, as organisations tend to estimate the volume of storage based on trends in data growth. As-a-service offers the opportunity to more closely align costs with use, taking the guesswork out of planning and the risk of being wrong.

#4 When IT is agile, so is the business
IT teams are no strangers to the ‘do more with less' game. It can be painful for teams who spend precious resources only to keep systems up and running. Managed services help IT free up resources to innovate and work on new projects that benefit customers, like improving SLAs and increasing SLOs.

In addition, the service provider owns and manages the infrastructure, including the lifecycle management, decommissioning and recycling. This means IT teams don't need to deal with lifecycle management, and it minimises the environmental impacts.

The ability to map computing resources to projects accurately helps eliminate much of the necessary routine work IT experiences and makes it easier to scale teams. Businesses are increasingly looking at expanding as-a-service adoption to focus on what matters most for their business: delivering business outcomes and value to customers.

It's safe to say that the as-a-service model is the future of modern enterprise. IT and business leaders are almost unanimous in finding IT procurement and management a source of heartache, even if they use public cloud.

If IT infrastructure is slow to procure or inflexible, then time-to-value for projects is directly impacted. It's no surprise that one in three CEOs are the one to make the call to move to an as-a-service model in A/NZ organisations, with leaders also recognising that an as-a-service model opens doors to develop new products, achieve digital transformation and be more innovative.

We will continue to see increased adoption of IaaS in business strategies over the next decade as companies identify opportunities for innovation in their businesses.

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