Can you top “anything and everything as a service”?

Healthcare IT

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 16 years since our first exposure to Software as a Service – or SaaS.  Since then the initial letter has been substituted with virtually every descriptor one can imagine.

Many of the most popular are listed here with an incredible duplication of acronyms:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • City as a Service (CaaS)
  • Backend as a Service (BaaS)
  • Content as a Service (CaaS)
  • Data as a Service (DaaS)
  • Database as a Service (DbaaS)
  • Energy Storage as a Service (ESaaS)
  • Games as a Service (GaaS)
  • Logging as a Service (LaaS)
  • Network as a Service (NaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Storage as a Service (SaaS)
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Needless to say, it’s almost impossible to find technology marketers that are laggards when it comes to jumping on a hype curve, so these acronyms proliferate even after the infatuation fades and the product lifecycle moves to middle age. One could argue that, at the consumer level, Software as a Service became mainstream the day most laptops stopped including on-board CD drives. The expectation of needing shrink-wrapped, packaged software is now the equivalent of expecting a dial tone on your mobile phone.

In a conference Q&A with a leading healthcare technology media company’s editorial director, I asked what the trendiest new acronym was in his sector. He didn’t miss a beat: “Healthcare IT is having a love affair with XaaS.”

So why should we be surprised when, after exhausting all the other descriptors for “as a Service,” the trending gurus decide that anything, or perhaps everything, should also be a Service? Since this new service is all encompassing, the obvious choice for the lead acronym is “X” which naturally translates to XaaS.

I’ve spoken to and read articles from brilliant technology professionals who have very logical reasons for describing this new platform as “X for everything.” Much of it relates to how the latest storage strategies permit the aggregation of virtually all other “aaS’s” in the cloud.

As a branding guy this doesn’t keep me from chuckling when they try to explain the subtle differences between everything and anything. I mean we should try to get as much work out of an “X” as we possibly can, so let’s be sure it can be repurposed for virtually everything AND anything, right?


Are you still with me?

Ironically the XaaS acronym isn’t really that new. It goes back at least as far as a 2014 IBM article describing SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS converging and forming the foundation for cloud computing when migrated from physical servers and networks. This gave me a flashback to the early 90s, when I first read an article on that hot new trend called Client-Server.

As with many technologies of this nature, the acronym does it no justice, even if you understand what it means to aggregate all the other forms of aaS. Only by looking at the practical application does this make sense.

XaaS in healthcare

So let’s take a quick look at what’s creating a sugar rush with XaaS in healthcare.

Not unlike many industries, healthcare answers to many masters — most notably providers, payers, and patients. These constituents are the beneficiaries of “anything and everything services” in the cloud.

How does XaaS do this differently?

Healthcare has been somewhat slow to the party in its migration to hybrid and public cloud. There is, after all, extreme paranoia about patient data and how secure it is in the cloud.

For reasons related to the number of moving parts in treatment — including records, reimbursement, value based care, and direct digital communication with the patient — the consolidation of all the older forms of aaS on one platform makes sense. Add this to the incredible pressure that healthcare providers and insurers are under to reduce costs to the government and patients. The reduction in capital expenditure devices for storage and networking, and the reapportioning of those devices to the most critical KPIs of increased patient engagement and satisfaction explain why the momentum for XaaS in healthcare has grown.


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  1. Great read! These are fascinating information, learned a lot. Keep posting! 🙂


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