“____ as a Service”, the greatest thing since….

One of the things I would look forward to as a youngling, growing up in middle class India in the 1970’s was the once a month treat my mom would make for me and my sisters:  an English breakfast plate comprised of eggs, baked beans, jam (jelly in the US) all sitting next to the delicious Britannia Bread which used to be delivered fresh, daily from the Britannia bakery to my local grocery shop.

While Indian cuisine had its own version of bread known as chapati, (usually whole wheat flatbread made fresh daily at home on a hot griddle), this British import of airy, fluffy baked and sliced goodness of white flour reminded me of stories I had heard of the grandeur of pre-independence India during the time of the British Raj.  When I would ask my mom why we didn’t have this yummy English breakfast more often, she would say that she didn’t want to spend the money on the expensive package of 30 slices of bread when we, as a family, could only consume about six slices at a sitting.  The rest of the bread would go stale in a London heartbeat all over Mumbai’s hot and humid kitchens.  Remember, we are talking about days before refrigerators.

This dilemma was quickly solved by my crafty local grocery shopkeeper who owned a stall on the corner where my house was.  He would get shipments of this English bread that came pre-packaged.  He’d open the cellophane covered-loaf and would then sell to each customer only the few slices they needed, instead of the whole loaf.  He would of course sell at a slightly higher price.  This not only made the grocer happy, it allowed me to live life like the Sahibs, a little more often.

Few inventions and their delivery methods have so monumentally capitalized on the consumer’s love of convenience like the modern “sliced bread”, allowing it to be enjoyed as a staple by the masses today.

Where am I going with this blog you ask?  Fast-forward to the early part of this millennium when TDM telephony was being considered redundant and new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was making headway into organizations and customers were confused.  Systems Engineers who would architect solutions would constantly be asked by customers to create two designs: TDM based and VoIP based.  After careful consideration, economics would play into the equation and the choice would be clear: Go VoIP.

Now let’s come to present day.  “____ as a Service” is making headway.   Insert whatever technology you want in the above blank e.g. Storage, Email, Database, or just plain Software.  I know it to be true for communications, because I am constantly being asked to create two architectures, Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) based and Communications As A Service (CAAS) based.  A lot has been written about the benefits of solutions provided as a service including lower IT costs, savings in time, Economies of Scale as well as Pay by the User, or should I say, pay by the slice. 

My grocer created a choice of delivery method which gave his customers an option:  buy the whole loaf or buy a few slices.  Organizations which provide CAAS create a choice for an alternative delivery method allowing even the smallest of organizations to leverage the latest advancements, features, and functionality by paying for them on a per-user, per-feature basis.   This allows companies to compete in the marketplace, and maybe live life like the “Sahibs.”

What kind of technology do you see filling the following blank, today and in the future? 
“____as a Service”

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

Abi Chandra

My career in telephony has unintentionally mimicked the life cycle of contact center solutions. In the 1990's, I was working on Rockwell's legacy ACD systems after which I then used server board-based systems at Aspect Solutions. Now, for the past five years, I have been working on IP systems for Interactive Intelligence. My primary background is in Cisco Systems data and voice networking and integrations. At Interactive Intelligence I am responsible for designing and architecting large-scale contact center solutions for strategic customers. I also regularly train our channel partners in systems engineering design methodologies. In my spare time, I enjoy making movies and the creative arts. People are surprised to hear that I am an avid Jazzerciser.