Does the world really need another -aas? Officially only three standard models are recognized by NIST, which you’ve most likely already heard of: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). If you’ve watched a recent Oracle presentation, you’ll definitely have seen these.
Unofficially, there are at least five others I can name: iPaaS, dPaaS, SECaaS, MBaaS and BaaS. Confusingly, BaaS may refer to backend as a service or blockchain as a service. I can’t get too excited about that, but do enjoy my count of five extending to six.
I would like to add another lesser known one into the mix: user experience as a service, or UXaaS for short (pronounced U-X-aas). It’s with mixed feelings I publicize UXaaS knowing the EaaS market (everything as a service; is that seven?) is bloated but having studied the existing taxonomies I just can’t seem to find a suitable alternative.
What is UXaaS?
It’s a cloud user experience that replaces or supplements the user interface of an existing application. There is an abundance of software such as ageing enterprise applications (like Oracle E-Business Suite) that are powerful yet let down by a poor user experience. UXaaS lets you retain that power but replaces the dinosaur user interface with a modern cloud user experience.
What it’s not
UXaaS is not SaaS. With SaaS, the provider manages the underlying infrastructure such as networks, servers, operating systems and storage. With UXaaS, the provider is only responsible for maintaining the infrastructure related to the user experience itself. The consumer remains responsible for managing the infrastructure of the underlying application (which may be on-premise, private cloud or SaaS).
It’s also not PaaS. Whilst UXaaS may contain a platform component such as the ability to personalize, configure, customize or extend the user experience, it is characterized by out-the-box apps. PaaS, by contrast, may contain pre-packaged templates but is centered around software developers building custom applications.
Where’s the “service”?
The provider is responsible for managing the infrastructure related to the user experience. For example, at Applaud we:
- Host the user experience on our own infrastructure
- Distribute user experience assets through a content distribution network of 80+ geographical servers around the world, which means a mobile user connects to the server nearest to them – reducing latency.
- Provide the infrastructure for UX services such as push notifications, location, analytics and other cloud services
- Provide an administrator console so that a super user can configure the user experience, branding (logos, color scheme) and mobile app white-labelling (app name and icon).
- Build and manage the REST API connectors that allow the front-end to work.
A user experience that is hosted on-premise cannot, by definition, be UXaaS.
It’s not just Applaud
I’ve just returned from the OHUG (Oracle HR User Group) annual tech conference with this conclusion: UXaaS is on the rise. Originally starting outside the Oracle ecosystem a little while ago, and used by Applaud for some time, I spotted three other Oracle vendors specializing in just this. Interestingly, the demand for UXaaS is not restricted to legacy enterprise applications; two of the three vendors specialized in Taleo user experience – evidence that UX expectations outpace even the leading SaaS applications.
UXaaS is not just here to stay – it’s on the rise.
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