In today’s economic environment, IT departments are seeing higher demand without an increase in budget. In addition, CFOs are demanding more accountability and want to be able to measure return on their IT investment. Corporate boards want to see IT transform from cost center to profit generator. Smart CIOs have been able to reduce infrastructure and software costs by leveraging SaaS and IaaS, and now, with EaaS (Expertise-as-a-Service®), other IT costs be reduced or contained, while increasing the IT department’s flexibility to handle fluctuating demand.
In order to understand EaaS, one must first understand the fundamentals of SaaS (software-as-a-service) and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service). These services reduce costs because they are:
- On demand – rapid startup with no “installation” or maintenance
- Ubiquitous – Instantly “there” and easy to use, with no additional infrastructure or personnel needed
- Scalable – can quickly add/remove service as demand requires.
- Cost effective – economies of scale and no additional hardware or personnel keep costs low
As an example, since SaaS means that you no longer have to have software running on your own in-house servers and PCs, you save by reducing the size of or eliminating your data centers, reducing the number of full-time employees tasked with maintaining the software and the hardware it runs on, and in many cases, reducing the need for the company to provide computers, as more organizations have adopted BYOD (bring your own device) policies. Extending this trend, many companies are now implementing IaaS strategies, moving data storage and servers “to the cloud.” Again, this reduces the number of full-time employees necessary to maintain an in-house infrastructure, but allows growth instantly as it is needed.
EaaS is an extension of this philosophy, allowing the procurement of information, expertise, performance management and measurement and other necessary IT services the same way. This way of thinking is not new to the enterprise; legal and finance departments have leveraged outside counsel and accounting firms for decades. The IT department is one of the last of the major departments within the corporation to move to this low-fixed-cost model, relying on outside sources for as-needed expertise. Just like SaaS and IaaS, EaaS brings cost savings by enabling IT to reduce and reallocate resources while having “on demand” access to the needed expertise, information, and performance measurement to use whenever and however it is needed.
Permanent and interim CIO and IT executives are finally transitioning their IT departments to the lower fixed cost financial model that EaaS allows. With the budgeting cycle starting up again very soon, IT departments that embrace EaaS are finding that staying within a flat or shrinking budget, while dealing with increasing demand from the business, is less of a problem.