The need for an efficient and secure IT infrastructure is growing. That is why more and more decision makers in SMEs are interested in innovative solutions and applications in the cloud. Known as ‘as-a-service’ solutions, they are offered by external developers and providers such as Konica Minolta.
Perhaps you think of outsourcing infrastructure and data to an external data centre when you think of the cloud? But cloud computing and cloud solutions are much more than that these days: increasingly, this means all-encompassing services for infrastructures, platforms or software.
Platform as a Service, abbreviated PaaS, means, for example, that an external provider or developer offers a platform for deploying software in the cloud as a service. The big advantage for customers is the lower administrative burden. After all, a platform like this is made available and can be used without costly investments in your own IT infrastructure and resources.
There are clouds and platforms for companies of all sizes
According to Gartner Inc., the global market for public cloud services will grow rapidly in the coming years. So it is good to know that cloud computing and platforms are no longer only available for large companies, but also for SMEs.
Developers have now put together efficient ‘as-a-service’ offerings, e. g. PaaS, IaaS and SaaS, for all companies that deploy and require larger amounts of data or middleware in their daily work. Hybrid solutions for the cloud are also available. This means that a company operates parts of its IT in its own data center and moves the rest to the cloud. Perhaps you are wondering which solution could be right for your company?
‘We think there is no general “right” solution. That’s why we offer our customers different models and “as-a-service offerings” for their servers and data centre concepts – including Platform as a Service options.’
Reliable PaaS providers are characterised by experience and innovation
The next question that arises is: what are the characteristics of a reliable PaaS vendor? At Konica Minolta, we are convinced that it comes down to a solid blend of experience, practical knowledge and innovation.
Konica Minolta has been developing ideas for the tech industry for 140 years: from cameras in the past to medical, IT and office technology, as well as powerful printers and large MFP devices, today. MFP stands for multi-functional printer. Expanding to PaaS solutions particularly makes sense for Konica Minolta for two reasons:
- Due to its large MFP devices, Konica Minolta already knows what matters when it comes to high-performance IT in corporate practice.
- Thanks to those large MFP devices, Konica Minolta has long-standing, reliable and resilient network connections to manage data quickly, digitally and via cloud computing.
In other words: Konica Minolta as a developer not only has experience with robust information technology, but also practical business experience. ‘And our business relationships with our two million customers worldwide, many of which have been in place for decades, are also resilient and reliable,’ says Plischke.
Workplace Hub: a standardised and innovative IT platform
Konica Minolta’s teams of developers have expanded the tried-and-tested MFP devices into a standardised IT application for SMEs in recent years. This allows Konica Minolta IT managers to provide a secure basis for IT services, their application on the Internet, and cloud computing. In cooperation with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a server is deployed in the Workplace Hub housing next to the printer/MFP, in order to be able to offer managed applications.
You may be interested in some technical details about the Workplace Hub. If not, feel free to skip the following information.
The Workplace Hub with HPE server is available as a floor-mounted or rack-mounted MFP. The applications, functions and applications offered by the Workplace Hub include:
- Backup and updates
- User administration
- Managed Wi-Fi, including guest access
- SharePoint-based collaboration
- Office 365
- Managed security functions in cooperation with Sophos
Invest in development and the future: what does a PaaS cost?
And what are the costs for SMEs that can see themselves using the Workplace Hub as a standardised IT application for their future work processes? ‘If, as an example, we take a Workplace Hub with the smallest server specification, which includes some mandatory managed services and output management solutions, in this case, the PaaS service would only cost slightly more per month than a medium three-digit euro amount, which is less than 1,000 euros,’ says Plischke.
These are manageable costs that pay off in the long term, because the Workplace Hub allows managers to concentrate on the essentials in everyday business and provides an infrastructure that allows access to state-of-the-art IT solutions.
Plus, the Konica Minolta MarketPlace, part of the Workplace Hub, offers software, licence management, automatic updates and other cloud-based services beside PaaS as a business platform. The interesting thing for SMEs is also: XaaS packages are agreed according to the pay-as-you-use principle – i.e. provided without high investment costs.
Digitisation as a Service: from IaaS and SaaS to PaaS
The many different as-a-Service solutions may sound confusing to those who are not IT managers, so we will finish with an overview of the most important definitions, terms and their meaning:
Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS means that external service providers such as Konica Minolta provide their customers with a virtual computing infrastructure; servers, computing power, networking capacities, communication devices, archiving systems, operating systems and backup systems as required.
Platform as a Service or PaaS means that the vendor offers an IT platform for software deployment in the cloud service. The advantages are the low administrative burden and the securing of the operating system. The IT application can be used without purchasing the corresponding hardware and software yourself, and can thus help to save costs.
Software as a Service or SaaS means that an external IT service provider operates a customer’s software and on-premise IT infrastructure.
As-a-Service solutions from Konica Minolta – cost-efficient and individual
‘Whether it is IaaS, PaaS or SaaS: as I mentioned, we are convinced that there is no general “right” solution for all companies. To this end, we offer every SME well-thought-out and tailor-made as-a-Service solutions,’ says Plischke.
Feel free to request more information, for example from Konica Minolta consultants or service staff with whom you are already familiar. Together, you can find out which tailored and cost-effective business solutions are available for your business.