The Rise of Knowledge-as-a-Service

The primary reason a KaaS business model will emerge is to address the glaring need for good tech talent across the board.
Headshot of author Thimaya Subaiya
Thimaya Subaiya
Expert Contributor
July 27, 2021
Updated: July 28, 2021
Headshot of author Thimaya Subaiya
Thimaya Subaiya
Expert Contributor
July 27, 2021
Updated: July 28, 2021

In recent years, we’ve begun to see a significant and rapid shift toward cloud-based software services across all industries.

SaaS expenditures in the United States alone are projected to reach $55 billion by 2026, indicating that SaaS is an increasing priority for IT infrastructure worldwide. What’s the next step in the evolution of SaaS? Not only will SaaS be used for internal operations, it will be core to all new business models.

This trend of “SaaSification” is driving organizations to reimagine how companies operate, from the ground up. For example, professional services organizations have traditionally deployed teams that charged hourly for services like auditing and legal counsel. But SaaS models have since made these services more widely available via integrated cloud platforms through a cost-per-license model.

Now, SaaSification itself is changing. It has evolved into something even more beneficial to businesses that have access to cloud-based services. Legacy enterprise and technology knowledge will be “SaaSified” into cloud-based offers, which will enable customers to tap into several years of technology-partner experience to monitor and maintain internal operations. This is the start of a shift from a Software-as-a-Service to a trend I like to call “Knowledge-as-a-Service.”

What Is Knowledge-as-a-Service (KaaS)?

At its core, KaaS provides data, information and experts on demand. A KaaS platform relies on a combination of technology and talent to deliver a software solution that can be embedded into an organization’s IT infrastructure. 

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How Does Knowledge-as-a-Service Work?

A KaaS platform provides guidance on evolving transformation needs in real time. An enterprise will be able to leverage a KaaS platform to actively monitor the integrity of its infrastructure, identify areas in need of maintenance or upgrade, facilitate a seamless technology transformation (or integration) when needed and retrain employees on how each shift affects their specific roles and responsibilities — all without the need for hiring extra talent or consulting with third-party experts.

Right now, there are a few KaaS offerings that primarily involve expert consultation, such as IBM’s App Connect Enterprise and Cisco’s Business Critical Services, Expert-as-a-Service. We can categorize these offerings as KaaS platforms, because they involve an expert dedicated to providing consultative advice and guidance around IT initiatives — such as bolstering cybersecurity, migrating to the cloud or developing a learning management system. 

These offers are designed to help customers break down barriers and drive results through the entire project life cycle — from onboarding to optimization — with efficiency and agility. As enterprises continue to get creative with their “as-a-Service” offerings, and as the need for agile talent increases, we will continue to see a trend of combining on-demand expert knowledge, AI technology and data analytics into KaaS platforms. This will provide a more diagnostic and directive approach to as-a-Service platforms. 

Historically, many retailers relied on brick-and-mortar sales. Because of the pandemic, however, they have had to either rethink their e-commerce structure or risk being unable to reach their customers. With this transformation, the retailer needs to bolster cybersecurity, introduce new chat-bot functions, redesign the e-commerce user interface and more. 

On their own, these projects would be heavy lifts, but with the help of a KaaS platform, the retailer can leverage step-by-step instructions built by a combination of retailer data, technology-partner data, artificial intelligence and automation to assist in the planning, integration and adoption of each different project. Furthermore, the retailer gains access to a real-time diagnostics dashboard to identify and react to unintended variables throughout the transformation. This solution gives the retailer not only the data it requires to transform the business successfully but also the knowledge and consultancy it needs to do so effortlessly.

 

Meeting the Need for Talent With Technology

The primary reason a KaaS business model will emerge is to address the glaring need for good tech talent across the board. Especially in a post-pandemic era — when enterprise resiliency and agility are must-haves for long-term success (and short-term survival!) — businesses must have access to talent that allows them to adapt to evolving needs. 

If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that agility is imperative, and without a plan in place, and an infrastructure of both technology and talent built to adapt to massive shifts in demand and prioritization, an enterprise is doomed.

Talent can be very hard to come by, and many businesses simply don’t have the resources to invest in dedicated transformation teams. For those that have solid IT talent, they may not have well-rounded teams that can address different evolving needs. A KaaS platform provides access to the necessary information to digitally transform any part of the business without requiring additional support via new hires, retraining and reskilling. KaaS cuts out the middleman, sidestepping the need to build, brief, train and deploy teams for every single project.

The need for talent will never go away. Moving forward, good technology talent will always be crucial to the success of a business model — KaaS or otherwise. Technology is only as smart as the people who build it, as well as the data it can access. As a result, humans will remain at the heart of the KaaS transformation.

As we blaze the trail ahead, it will be fascinating to watch how the SaaSification of legacy knowledge unfolds, who the key players will be and how this will impact the rate at which enterprises are able to grow.

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