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SaaS Solutions for Service Providers: 5 Business-boosting Advantages

Author: CA’s Ken Vanderweel

To compete and win in today’s digital economy, enterprises continue to embark on a fundamental business transformation. Ready or not, service providers will also need to fundamentally transform their service catalogs in response.

In the digital economy, delivering digital services that provide an optimized user experience is paramount. Given this imperative, service providers will need to move from their traditional infrastructure-centric services and into more application- and user-focused service offerings. By delivering services that are aligned with these requirements, service providers will be well poised to address a strategic customer demand and capitalize on a rapidly growing market.

Today, SaaS solutions can provide a fast, pragmatic way for service providers to expand their portfolios, so they can more nimbly respond to changing customer requirements. The following sections highlight some of the most significant advantages that service providers can capitalize on when they build their new services on SaaS solutions.

Advantage #1: Deliver New Services Fast

For enterprise organizations, and the MSPs that serve them, the business and technology landscape is evolving at a break-neck rate. For service providers, opportunities and threats are also arising with increasing rapidity—which places a premium on speed.

By leveraging SaaS solutions, service providers can dramatically reduce the time it takes to go from concept to billing. Because they don’t require lengthy infrastructure procurement, configuration, deployment or testing cycles, SaaS solutions can enable:

  • Fast solution evaluation. SaaS solutions can be accessed in a fast, on-demand fashion so evaluation teams can quickly test and validate capabilities and functionality.
  • Fast implementation. Once a solution is chosen, service providers can more quickly complete activation and setup.
  • Fast customer onboarding. Because no infrastructure needs to be modified or procured to support their operational solutions, service providers can realize much faster onboarding of new customers.
  • Fast scaling. As new users and use cases emerge, SaaS solution subscriptions can quickly be modified to support this growth.

As a result, service providers can significantly speed their time to market for new services and respond quickly as requirements change.

Advantage #2: Test, Validate and Deliver New Services with Minimal Cost and Risk

The more cost and effort required to establish a new service, the bigger the risk that will be incurred. Especially once a large investment is made, the business is exposed if customer uptake is slow or doesn’t materialize as anticipated. Further, the bigger the upfront cost, the longer it will take to break even and recoup that investment.

By leveraging SaaS offerings to power new services, service providers can significantly tilt the odds of success in their favor. SaaS solutions can reduce risk in a number of areas:

  • Infrastructure procurement, deployment and maintenance. With SaaS offerings, there’s no need to invest in and support infrastructure at any time. That means the service provider isn’t starting with sunk costs before the first customer gives the go ahead.
  • Tool evaluation. Many SaaS solutions are available via free trials, and accessible in a fast, easy and on-demand fashion. As a result, operations teams can minimize the time and cost required to evaluate whether a solution is a fit for their organization’s new service.
  • New service validation and testing. With SaaS solutions, the service provider can lay the groundwork for a new service, and ultimately begin to market and sell it—all before any software investment is made. In this way, they can validate a solution and test and prove the viability of a service with minimal up-front risk.
  • Long term scaling. Many SaaS solutions are run in cloud environments that possess virtually unlimited scalability. This means service providers can avoid the risk of having their environment hit a sudden performance or scalability ceiling if the number or usage of customers begins to grow rapidly.

By changing the risk/reward calculation in all these ways, SaaS solutions can open up new opportunities for service providers, enabling them to pursue new services that may have been too costly and risky to support in the past. By lowering the barrier to entry, SaaS offerings make it practical for service providers to expand services more rapidly and broadly than previously possible.

Advantage #3: Deliver New Services with Maximum Flexibility and Agility

By employing SaaS solutions, service providers can move away from the complexity and rigidity associated with traditional on-premises IT infrastructures. SaaS offerings provide flexibility in two key areas:

  • Budgetary flexibility. Many SaaS solutions feature consumption-based subscription pricing. Rather than paying for the infrastructure used to support a service, service providers only pay for their service usage. SaaS offerings can therefore significantly streamline and simplify the billing process. The service provider gets direct visibility into their usage and costs and can ensure billings to their customers are aligned with those costs.
  • Technical and architectural flexibility. SaaS solutions can offer a range of advantages in terms of technical ease and agility. By virtue of their cloud architectures, many SaaS offerings can enable more flexible connectivity. For example, in the case of monitoring, service providers can employ SaaS solutions to more easily monitor customers’ clouds and hybrid environments. SaaS-based development offerings can efficiently support DevOps approaches by making it easier for distributed internal teams and external testing and development organizations to access common assets.

Advantage #4: Deliver New Services with Maximum Staff and Resource Efficiency

In today’s competitive markets, service providers need to maximize their focus on delivering customer value and differentiation, not on the “plumbing” needed to support their services. SaaS solutions help service providers better focus their staff time and efforts on the needs of the customer, rather than the care and feeding of the infrastructure.

SaaS solutions can provide a range of other efficiency benefits as well, enabling service providers to:

  • Reduce the need to hire and retain experts with extensive infrastructure scaling experience—and avoid the distraction of maintaining and scaling infrastructure.
  • Reduce the wasted time and inefficiency associated with responding to infrastructure issues.
  • Eliminate the time and energy that are required to do effective capacity planning—and the wasted costs associated with infrastructure over provisioning.

Advantage #5: Deliver New Services while Maximizing Resiliency and Security

In the digital economy, maximizing the performance, resiliency and security of IT environments and business services is a vital imperative. To serve customers in this climate, service providers need to ensure their services fulfill these objectives. When rolling out a new service, service providers can therefore be faced with the massive undertaking associated with building an environment that offers the scalability, redundancy and security required.

Today, many SaaS solutions are run in cloud data centers that offer state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities. By adopting these SaaS solutions, service providers can capitalize on these features:

  • Resiliency and availability. Many SaaS offerings are run in environments that deliver near-100 percent service availability levels and rigorous recovery time and recovery point commitments.
  • Scalable, cloud-optimized architecture. With SaaS offerings, the vendor handles the scaling and maintenance. Designed to be run in cloud environments, SaaS offerings often feature capabilities like automatic scaling and bi-weekly updates.
  • Security. Many SaaS vendors have invested in capabilities that address stringent security policies and privacy mandates.
  • Certifications. These data centers will often be audited and certified for compliance with a number of standards, such as the System and Organization Controls (SOC) standards through the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

By employing SaaS offerings, service providers can leverage all these features—without having to build and support them.

Conclusion

The long-term success of service providers will ultimately be predicated by their ability to support customers’ digital transformation journeys. To address their customers’ emerging requirements, many service providers will have to address gaps in their service catalog. By using SaaS solutions to power their new services, service providers can more quickly respond to these changing requirements, while minimizing costs and risks.  To learn more about how our solutions can help, be sure to visit the SaaS Solutions from CA Technologies page.


Ken Vanderweel is senior director of service provider solutions marketing at CA Technologies. Read more CA blogs here.

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