As-a-service IT solutions can deliver significant, measurable benefits in lower costs, more efficient organizational teams, accelerated development lifecycles and flexible business operations. In fact, research shows that IT as a service can deliver millions of dollars a year in higher revenue.
Many organizations are turning to as-a-service models to increase agility and reduce costs for some of their most business-critical IT needs, including storage, data protection and business resiliency. This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the business benefits of as-a-service IT consumption models in the areas of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), storage and data protection capacity.
The answers are viewed through the lens of a comprehensive IDC research report that focuses on Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services as an exemplar of the ways in which IT teams can embrace as-a-service to deliver transformative business value in the areas of IT operations, IT costs, business agility and business results.
Why should our organization consider as-a-service consumption of infrastructure for hyper-convergence, storage and data protection?
The primary business benefits cited by customers are:
- Ability to enable development through IT agility;
- Faster procurement cycles;
- Ability to scale to meet business demand;
- Higher revenue;
- Improved application/system performance;
- Improved utilization of assets.
The success of as-a-service models in delivering these benefits is the ability of vendors, specifically Dell and VMware, to “create a cloudlike experience,” according to IDC.
The vendor is responsible for the asset and its lifecycle, including assessing, planning, designing, implementing, supporting and managing the proper disposition and replacement of assets. Within those lifecycle services, the vendor must create a customer experience “that matches or, in some cases, is better aligned with requirements than what the customer can get in current public cloud offerings.”
What are some specific features and considerations in choosing an as-a-service portfolio to help achieve cloudlike experience and agility, cost savings and other business benefits?
Participants in the IDC study said the advantages of APEX Cloud Services made it a more compelling solution than extending or upgrading their existing environments. These were generally based on purchasing and running on-premises, hyper-converged storage and data protection hardware and capacity. Key features and capabilities cited by customers included:
- Payment flexibility and the ability to match infrastructure spending to actual demand. As one customer said: “We’re actually able to use what we need instead of over-consuming in resources and spending money that we didn’t need to spend, as we had in the past.”
- Elastic scalability to support digital transformation. “Basically, we can scale up or down with Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services and that’s the beauty of it,” said one customer. “If we get rid of a lot of data as we’re transforming or need more, we can get more or less.”
- Simpler management to put less stress on IT resources and personnel: “Our platform administrators no longer have to worry about the health of our data protection environment because that’s all managed now. It helps with attracting and retaining talent.”
- Flexible IT to improve business agility. “The advantage of Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services is being able to adjust in our environment,” another customer said. “We grow and move from one facility to another, so we had to be flexible enough to have a parallel system while that transition occurred. I haven’t seen any disadvantages to this model.”
What are some of the specific results as-a-service customers have been able to achieve?
Cost savings, operational efficiencies, intelligence-based decision-making, proactive planning, better utilization of IT resources, less planned downtime and higher revenue, to name just a few.
Per the IDC research, customers of APEX Cloud Services are achieving average annual cost savings and operational efficiencies of $1.46 million. A previous Total Economic Impact™ study by Forrester Research showed a three-year incremental ROI differential of 171%.
Specific benefits cited by customers in the IDC research include:
- Improvement of productivity of help desk teams by an average of 54%.
- Improvement of efficiency of security teams by an average of 24%.
- Reduction in overprovisioning by an average of 6% across hyper-converged, storage and data protection use cases.
- A 64% reduction in the staff time required to deploy new capacity.
- Improvement of 11% in the productivity level of development teams.
- A 64% improvement in uptime due to reduction of unplanned outages.
- A 46% improvement in the efficiency of mean time to recovery.
What’s the bottom line on as-a-Service?
We’ll leave the last word to IDC:
“Dell Technologies customers described achieving a variety of benefits through their use of APEX solutions, including lower IT costs, IT team efficiencies and productivity gains, as well as enhanced agility, reliability and performance. As a result, IDC’s analysis shows they are not only achieving substantial cost of operations efficiencies—39% lower on average over three years—but are also better positioned to provide agile and high-performing applications and services to their businesses. With Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services, they have confidence that they have an IT infrastructure sufficiently cost-effective, agile and high performing to match business requirements at any given time.”