A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport
– paraphrased from Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia
I do not know how about You – dear reader – but for me (a 30+ years old person from Central Eastern Europe) Socialism does not bring a nice memories nor feelings. The main reason for this is that Socialism never worked for me in practice. There is something in the nature of humans that we like to own, posses and differentiate ourselves from others. Bigger car, bigger house – those are the things which made us feel better. The commonly shared goods and assets were not appreciated. But with the advent of social responsibility, social communities, social awareness something has changed. Using a public transport is cool again, using Cloud is better than having your own, brand new server. Suddenly using things is way better than owning them.
Socialism vs. Everything as a Service
One of the main assumptions of Socialism is “Social ownership” which may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, citizen ownership, or any combination of these. In a new reality of Everything as a Service (or XaaS in short) value to the end user is delivered based on sharing and reuse of the common assets (think about servers delivered in the Cloud or rented cars).
Another important trait of Socialism is that the access to goods and services is based on need, stressing equal access to the articles of consumption. Everything as a Service is a concept where people and organizations stop to purchase assets, instead they buy value for a specific period of time on an equal terms. Obviously there is always a place for premium services for additional fees and it is up to the customer to choose between available market options.
Digital Transformation and the ability to turn practically every business model to its digital representation brings me to think that we just might create a Socialism 2.0 – better, working version of the old concept. In this world people and organizations are getting together to create a common value at the same time making this model commercially viable.
Some examples of Socialism 2.0 in action
- Car2Go concept gains traction all around the world. Why should you own the car when for the most of the time it is standing in the garage? Instead sign up to the Car2Go service and enjoy driving a car when you need it, where you need it. Once you are done, just park the car and go your own way so other people can use it after you. You pay for what you use. Exactly same concept is applied to the bikes in the cities around the world.
- airbnb – a Flat as a Service concept that you can rent somebody’s house, flat or room with just a few clicks. Sharing roof with with the stranger proves not only to be a commercially attractive but also socially rewarding experience.
- instacart – a Groceries as a Service firm which found its market niche covering the stores which do not have their own delivery services. Now you can support your local business and buy in your favorite shop without going out from home.
- Employee as a Service concept – now there is a chance for people who need an extra flexible working hours to deliver their time-limited service to the needing employers. Concept of matching short term service demand with supply from individuals with the time constraints is being made possible thanks to the digital platforms. This model proves itself very valuable and commercially viable without the need of government support.
How the Future as a Service will look like?
This is a million dollar question as with every bold idea, of how to digitize yet another part of the market, goes a great financial reward. Thanks to the very nature of internet based businesses they are extremely scalable and border-less. Starting local and expanding to the entire world was never been easier. Starting small and grow to the multimillion corporation can be achieved in just a few years. I have no doubt that this trend will continue to evolve making our life easier, more digital and on-demand.
Whether you agree or not with the XaaS comparison to Socialism, one thing is clear: the new Digital Economy is structured around the communities and networks. Sharing and reusing assets and then delivering them as a Service is a dominant approach. Moving away from the concept of product towards service is becoming a norm for most of the industires. Its exciting to see how businesses will transform, scale and grow by challenging the status quo and by pushing the borders of imagination. Cloud platforms are in the middle of this Digital Revolution. That is why Cloud is the place to be!