Four years ago I proposed a term for cloud-based services, XAAS (the “X” in XAAS essentially stands for anything), pronounces “Zass”. (You can view it here and view a YouTube Video that I made for our first forum on the topic here). My view at the time was that “Software” in software-as-a-service (SAAS) was too limiting as cloud-based services were evolving quickly, and possible services in the cloud are endless and could include a mix and match of the following:
- Operating Systems
- Virtualization (all aspects)
- Integration software
- Development tools and platforms
- Administrative tools and platforms
- Technical operations services
- Other operation services (e.g., data entry, data QA, creative services)
- Business services
- Interfaces to the users (API/web services, Browser, Rich client interfaces, customer support interfaces such as chat, phone, e-mail, sms)
The overarching issue is that there are a lot of combinations and permutations of the above, and all seemingly good combinations will be tried and many will be successful.
Four years later, the term XAAS is starting to pick up some level of traction, as people try to create a term for each specific architectural offering.
While I do not have great interest in what the term finally becomes, I do have great interest in the evolution of the XAAS architectural and business models. My overarching sense is that the architectural models will eventually allow different layers of service offerings for people to tap into via browsers and other applications (From their desktops, laptops, mobile, and other devices) and for computers to tap into via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
The interface to people/computers will encapsulate whatever service offering that has been decided to be useful for a specific market segment by an enterprising management team.
Fundamentally, the list of possible building blocks are like an erector set that could be combined in many ways. The ultimate results, just like with any product offering, will depend on the target users that the product is aimed at and the needs/desires (active or latent) of the users.
What does this mean for the future of XAAS? As with all products, it all starts with the target customer segment and the product follows.
The future of XAAS? It is going to go on and on…
Note: As a growth venture capital firm with significant amount of expansion capital to put to work, we are looking forward to the continued explosion of the XAAS ecosystem and are aggressively looking for new investments in XAAS related companies!