What is Capability-as-a-Service?

What on earth does Capability-as-a-Service mean? Is it just glorified contract recruitment? As front runners in establishing a CaaS service, we hope you will find us well placed to shed some light on this question.

We live in a time where you can get most things as-a-service. Businesses are hailing their “innovative, future-proof and efficient” solutions left, right and center. So much so that as-a-service solutions are not only becoming the dominant way of the 21st century but are also morphing into a steady stream of white noise. Sort of like stock photos of the same chap with his Colgate smile shaking hands with a man just like him. Or your auntie’s daily cat video posts. Or that friend who takes a selfie a day and puts an inspirational quote underneath it – “You can achieve your dreams if you just believe.”

What does as-a-service mean?

At the most basic level, as-a-service is something that is traditionally seen as a product/one-off transaction, remade into a service solution. Usually, “as a service” brings with it newer technology and/or a lower cost. As-a-Service solutions are also cloud-based to varying degrees. Traditionally these are seen as software solutions that go from physical programmes to cloud solutions, or IT services that get outsourced on a needs basis to free up internal teams to focus on the strategy and larger projects instead of task management.

There are many different types of as-a-service. Here are just some that you may have heard of:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

CaaS sits at the top as the latest –aas addition.

What is Capability-as-a-Service?

While somewhat similar to Solutions-as-a-Service, CaaS is a new branch of the as-a-service tree. Born out of dissecting and evaluating the recruitment needs of large public and private sector organisations, we crystallised exactly where the real pain lies. But most of the clients we spoke to didn’t think there was any solution. They felt that hiring contract labour was sort of like a lifelong limp – you accept it as something that works well enough but won’t ever really propel you to sporting success.

Now, not every person in this world wants to be a sportsperson. But every single business wants to be successful, best in their field and to go from strength to strength. It’s not easy to do that with a limp. It slows you down. You can run but you will never be fast enough to keep up with the winners.

What if you could swap the defective leg for one that is the very opposite of all that you hated about the old one? Instead of awkward, it becomes your closest ally. Instead of slowing you down, it propels you forward and you go faster than you ever thought possible. And instead of something you wish could change, it is something you hope never changes. You never want to go back.

Most companies are aware of staffing based service solutions only in outsourcing their IT needs to an external provider. Most companies are not aware of CaaS as a solution to gaps in their internal teams. We are not talking about an all-in outsourcing of IT. Rather, the selective sourcing of business capabilities.

Here are some examples:

  • Migrating your whole business to Windows 10. Rather than hiring a whole team to execute this change, you approach a CaaS provider and are provided with a full Windows 10 migration solution (team of experts included. Windows 10 not included…)
  • Don’t have a Project Management team? No worries. Tell the CaaS provider your project needs and get provided with carefully selected and vetted experts in Project Management. This becomes PMaaS – Project Management as a service. Pay a flat fee and off you go.

CaaS is an agile, scalable, on-demand delivery model, delivered through a structured engagement approach, with robust governance and assurance processes to quickly and efficiently on/off-board services.

Who would benefit from Capability-as-a-Service?

While it is crucial that organisations act fast to overcome resourcing issues, it is rarely a straightforward endeavour. The right technical expertise isn’t that easy to find and businesses struggle to not only find the right people but also retain these experienced professionals. Sometimes, the struggle is because the market is competitive, other times because the budget simply isn’t there to make a permanent hire just for them to sit around until the next project need arises.

If you need help migrating to Windows 10 for the next 6 months and then in 3 months time you need a team of Business Analysts to help you with something else, you’ve got to face an exhausting hiring and internal approval process in the middle of a very busy time while migrating to Windows 10. There are often more layers to these processes than there are to the average onion, and the amount of time and capital that gets invested (and often poured down the drain) is a big drain on the organisation.

Capability-as-a-Service removes that process entirely. You approach the provider with your need and everything else gets covered. Next thing you know, you receive a team that is ready to hit the ground running and deliver your project.

Furthermore, the recruitment, training and overhead expenses of recruiting these professionals are high and the time cost is irreversible. These issues are central to why so many businesses find themselves suffering from a technology skills shortage. Consequently, many organisations lack foundational operational excellence that would allow them to succeed and reach their potential and goals in delivering business transformation and technology innovation. This ultimately leads to a problem so many of us can relate to – IT departments stretched thinner than a spoonful of butter for a whole loaf of bread, facing almost constant resourcing problems. And all too often, these problems result in ever-growing burdens being placed on existing teams to continue delivering in the day-to-day functions.

While these pressures can place a constant burden on the IT department, there are many other resource issues lurking in the shadows, which can lead to a disaster for IT and place a severe strain on the rest of the organisation. These factors include sickness or holidays which lead to staff shortages.

To keep up with the ever-changing face of technology, the IT department may at times lack the expertise or specialist skills required to implement and maintain new technologies effectively. IT projects, especially those performed during busy times, may also lead to requiring additional resources.

These problems can be time-consuming to resolve and potentially leave the organisation vulnerable.

Is CaaS just a fancy way to say “contingent labour”?

The two couldn’t be more different. The only similarity is that you receive experts for a short period of time. Everything else is different.

Netflix is a great way to explain this simply. You don’t pay per film or episode of a TV series. You pay for the whole service. It is the same with CaaS – you don’t hire contractors each time you need help. You get your service covered and the experts come as a part of the package. CaaS is not an off-shoot of recruitment; you are not provided with contractors or workers in the traditional sense of these words. You receive a co-managed service – forget headcounts, forget IR35 and all other employment-based challenges you have faced in the past. You choose a service line – or multiple – and it is delivered. We provide transparent reporting and ongoing process updates. 

Beware disguised body shopping.

Some providers will claim to provide a solution when in reality they still provide contractors with all the strings attached.

Here are some tell-tale signs of body shopping:

  • You are providing the contractor with a fixed desk space
  • You are supervising the contractor and setting them tasks
  • You are managing and monitoring task completion
  • You’re still approving timesheets

So there you have it. Hopefully, you have more of a grasp on what Capability-as-a-Service is and what it looks like in practice. If you want to find out the specific pain that CaaS removes by replacing Contingent Labor solutions, click on the button below.