Building trust in an as-a-service world

The world we live in is undergoing rapid digital transformation. But in the effort to keep up with the pace of change, IT departments are being stretched thin, employees struggle with burnout, and organisations face additional resourcing challenges. As a solution, more organisations are turning to flexible consumption models – or “as a service” – to support their accelerated growth. 

In fact, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region saw a 47% increase in spending on the as-a-service model to a record US$13.2 billion in 2021, including a 47.5% growth for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and a 40% growth for software as a service (SaaS)1. In Singapore, we’ve seen increased customer demand for a consumption-based model when it comes to storage.

While adopting an as-a-service model can create a stronger partnership between an organisation and the technology provider, it also evolves the traditional vendor/customer relationship into one that requires a new level of trust. Businesses will need to trust their technology provider to help manage their ecosystem, infrastructure, services, workloads, and applications more than they did previously.

It goes without saying that trust is earned, not given. To build trust, technology providers must be ready to show that they can put the customer first and be even more protective of customers’ infrastructure management.

Trust must be explicit

In any business engagement, trust is often assumed. When it comes to an as-a-service engagement, however, building trust is essential because there is no wiggle room for mission-critical applications and workloads in the cloud to not work efficiently. 

To build a mutually beneficial partnership, technology providers need to broaden the very paradigm of trust, beyond security and privacy. Customer trust should also include these core attributes: compliancy, resiliency, and transparency. 

  • Compliancy – Organisations have enough to focus on without needing to worry that the products and software they build upon are compliant with key standards and policies. Part of allowing a vendor to manage their infrastructure means trusting any compliance updates will be met in a timely and accurate manner. If not, the organisation has a lot to lose – monetarily and legally.
  • Resiliency – The past year has proven that disruptions are inevitable. For example, natural disasters cause equipment failures, cyberattacks cause chaos, and human error is almost unavoidable. But when these things happen, customers need assurance their infrastructure is resilient enough not to cause long-term business effects.
  • Transparency – It’s twofold: not only should customers have transparent pricing information at their disposal to make the right choice for their business, they also need to be kept “in the loop” on how their infrastructure is performing, updating and always running.

It’s still a work in progress, but cloud computing has reshaped enterprise IT and user confidence is only going up. As one of the most advanced public cloud markets in the APAC region, Singapore is the perfect example of this – with the country’s investment in the public cloud expected to grow at a 20% CAGR to US$3.5 billion by 2023.

Key components of trust

For a healthy as-a-service model, technology providers need to evolve by engineering trust into all their offerings and entire ecosystems.

From a customer perspective, they have the right to expect the following:

  • Trust at the product level. Customers need confidence that the product offered by the managed service provider is secure and resilient. For example, in the event of an outage, what is the recovery window and how will their data be impacted? This begins with a secure development lifecycle, a secure supply chain and follows through to everywhere data and applications go.
  • Data security. Customers need assurance their personal data is protected in the event of a cyberattack – this requires transparent access policies, accurate and comprehensive data logs, and secure storage.
  • Customer support. Customers need to trust that their vendors have their best interest at heart. Technology providers should also proactively take care of any hiccups on the backend so customers can continue doing business.

With the increasing adoption of as-a-service consumption and multi-cloud environments, building trust in the ecosystem is more important than ever. Customers must trust in the companies that are running their infrastructure and the infrastructure that is powering their business. 

The right trust foundation – including the core attributes mentioned above – is an ultimate determinant of successful business outcomes and efficient digital transformation. With the right partner, customers can seamlessly run not only mission-critical workloads, but achieve operational excellence, simplify life for the IT team, and discover new budgets for high-value work and other priorities. Technology providers must therefore be ready to partner with their customer to win confidence and work tirelessly to demonstrate trustworthiness.

1 According to The Q4 2021 Asia Pacific ISG Index by global technology research and advisory firm Information Services Group