Want to be a hybrid cloud winner? The recipe for XaaS success

Picture this: your business is a dynamic player in your industry at the brink of a pivotal juncture. Struggling with the limitations of conventional approaches, you recognize the imperative to embrace IT-as-a-service to stay ahead, with the infusion of AI becoming the catalyst for change. The result? A revolution across revenue operations, customer engagement, employee satisfaction and the seamless flow of product development and delivery.

Welcome to a new era—where the infusion of AI into every facet of operations is not just an option, but a necessity. We’ve found in this new IBM-sponsored IDC white paper that the shift to delivering IT-as-a-service is foundational and extends the strategic transformation of IT infrastructure, adding even more value to the business. In fact, IDC estimates that IT infrastructure-related spending will grow by a modest 4.5% relative to 2022, with the highest being in infrastructure-as-a-service (at 23%) followed by software-as-a-service (SaaS, at 8.4%) and IT services (at 3%).

In my last piece “Unlock innovation today and for tomorrow with a future-ready digital infrastructure,” I went into detail around how IBM aims to help our clients make strategic architectural decisions to future-proof their businesses and create enduring value, emphasizing the limitless possibilities through flexible as-a-service solutions for tailored workloads. With this in mind, I want to dive a bit deeper into those four core imperatives that IDC also helped highlight in more detail:

1. Empowering your hybrid cloud strategy

A pivotal aspect of modern IT environments blends the cost-efficiency, scalability, privacy and dependability advantages of both private and public clouds. Although more than 77% of decision-makers in an IBM study have adopted a hybrid cloud approach, the majority struggle with the complexity of making all their cloud environments work together. Successful hybrid cloud strategies require a unified control and management plane, enabling automated deployment of applications across various environments, comprehensive observability and improved cyber resiliency.

2. Building confidence in safeguarding data

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, but its movement must be safe and compliant. An IDC survey forecasting the primary reasons for an increase in enterprise storage spending in 2023 cites, “greater data protection needs” was the most selected primary driver by IT decision makers. A unified platform can allow an organization to draw on best-in-class cloud security and regulatory compliance technologies across all environments in a consistent way.

3. Scaling AI for better business outcomes and impact

AI has transitioned from peripheral to core business driver, demanding optimized infrastructure for high-performance AI workloads. Overcoming challenges means addressing data ingestion bottlenecks, hybrid cloud AI model distribution, robust model safeguarding through advanced encryption and governance for trustworthiness. As you may have seen recently, IBM and Meta recently launched the AI Alliance—a group of leading organizations across industry, startup, academia, research and government coming together to support open innovation and open science in AI. This reinforces our commitment to create opportunities everywhere that can shape the evolution of AI in ways that better reflect the needs of businesses, but most importantly our society.

4. Fast-track IT on demand

The traditional perception of IT as an internal service provider is evolving. Modern IT organizations must shift towards delivering IT on demand, offering a centralized control plane for hybrid cloud services that consume resources as needed. This approach optimizes infrastructure for specific workloads, introduces new technologies seamlessly and ensures agility and scalability.

The shift to XaaS and the path forward

Think of your XaaS offerings similarly to dining at your favorite restaurant. When you’re out to eat you’re there for the experience of being out, whether that be with a loved one or catching up with an old friend. You don’t have to worry about hosting, shopping for ingredients, cooking or even the resulting clean up. Instead, you pay for a meal and enjoy the convenience and experience of someone else handling everything. This is what the “fit-for-purpose” model of XaaS is out to achieve. It takes care of the technical aspects, allowing organizations and IT leaders to focus on their core business activities and, most importantly, the clients they serve with a clear focus on the outcomes they are looking for.

In this current landscape, XaaS emerges as a solution that can simplify operations, enhance resilience and accelerate digital transformation. According to IDC, 78% of IT organizations agree that XaaS offerings are a key part of their future strategy. Ultimately, the winners in this digital transformation journey will be those who modernize their IT environments and operating models, leveraging insights from data to optimize workflows, automate productivity and accelerate business outcomes. IBM, with its focus on XaaS and a comprehensive AI and data platform, is poised to be a leader in this transformative era, offering organizations the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape. Delivering IT through an XaaS foundation harnesses the power of flexibility, speed and ease of consumption, with an outcome-driven focus—now, this is the future of our business.

Read the whitepaper on XaaS today

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