The as-a-service business model, where services and applications are accessed on-demand via the internet rather than purchased outright, has evolved at blistering speed, transforming the way companies operate. In broad terms, ‘as-a-service’ (aas) is used to describe services and applications that are accessed on-demand via the internet rather than purchased outright and owned by a business. Originating in the delivery of software and data services, the model has expanded to encompass everything from transport to storage and even operations such as marketing and HR. Its increasing popularity shows no sign of slowing down, with Forbes forecasting that it is set to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 40 per cent from 2016 to 2020.
Today, forward-thinking businesses are applying the aas model not only to how they work but also to where they work. The workspace-as-a-service strategy is causing decision-makers in businesses of all sizes to rethink operations based on a number of key business advantages.
The first few years are often make or break for small and growing businesses. Workspace-as-a-service helps young firms by allowing them to focus on business critical front-line tasks rather than wasting time and resources dealing with admin relating to premises or technology. By eliminating the need for long term leasing commitments, the model also allows businesses to remain agile, able to swiftly increase or reduce workspace as needs dictate.
The same is true for enterprise-scale operations. Expansion into different geographies can happen rapidly, and operational hubs can be established so that businesses can be closer to key customers.
Attracting top talent
Great businesses rely on great people and the competition for attracting top talent is becoming increasingly fierce. This means that, in order to attract the brightest and best employees, it’s vital for businesses to keep refreshing their operational thinking. One critical factor which has emerged in the last five years is the growing importance placed on flexible working. In a recent Regus survey, more than nine in ten UK professionals stated that if faced with two similar jobs they would select the one offering flexible working. Further, over half agreed they would “actively change job” if one with more flexible working was offered.
Workspace-as-a-service gives businesses the flexibility to set up when and where they want, allowing them to meet employee needs rather than demanding that workers conform to a rigid working structure. If the right person for the job just happens to be based 200 miles away – so what?
Businesses of all sizes are scrutinising the bottom-line. Workplace-as-a-service frees firms from long-term leasing commitments and eliminates the financial drain that is redundant office space. Just as importantly, the model liberates staff from mundane yet expensive monitoring and maintenance tasks and allows the best people to work at their best level.
In short, workspace-as-a-service is opening up a wealth of new opportunities for businesses of every size. Those adopting the model are becoming more agile, intelligent and robust. Operations are becoming more employee-focused without sacrificing efficiency or quality.
Indeed, any business not adapting – and refusing to move away from its legacy models – is in danger of putting itself at risk.
Richard Morris is the UK CEO of Regus.