Where cloud is going: Service as a service

As big players like Xerox expand their capabilities, businesses of all sizes will have more choices of cloud services

If you were like me you might have thought that Xerox was all but dead as a brand name, forever associated with copiers. But if you read John Gallant's eye-opening interview with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns you not only will understand that Xerox is doing a whole lot more these days, and is probably on the cutting edge when it comes to delivering services in the cloud.

Thanks to acquisitions Xerox now has a pretty broad portfolio of IT, business process and document outsourcing services. As the interview reveals, there are an increasing number of vertical industries who are seeing document and data management escalate rapidly, either due to an increase in customers, an increase in needed government regulation, or both those as well as other concerns.

The whole interview is great and worth a thorough read -- but for our focus here at Mobile Enterprise 360 I was especially interested in Burns' talk about how Xerox is delivering "services as a service" in the cloud, basically selling turnkey business operations to a selected tier of thick verticals, like healthcare and telecom customer care, among others.

Here's a money quote from the interview from Burns about cloud:

"We use cloud not as just something to sell like Amazon Cloud Services -- just 'use my cloud.' It is literally a part of our solutions package, part of our solutions wrapper. That's the way we differentiate ourselves. That's the way customers speak to us about the cloud. They don't say, 'Can I buy clouds from you?' They say, 'Can I buy certain business services from you?' And we say, 'Yes, you can.'"

Not only is all of the interview loaded with interesting info about what Xerox is up to, it is a bit of a pointer to where cloud services are likely going in the future as smart innovators look for ways to differentiate themselves from pure-play services like storage or computer power. The good news is, a lot of businesses may win since the services will be available to a much wider customer range. It sounds silly, but "service as a service" is probably going to be part of your IT playbook before long.

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