Data as a Service: The next big thing?

As you all know this year has been a huge year for Microsoft with several product launches, corporate logo change, Microsoft Surface, Sinofsky leaving the company and a few more out there. With all of these changes Steve Ballmer also this year announced that Microsoft is becoming a devices and services company. All in all these are some huge changes for a large company in a single year and the question now is whether these changes will allow Microsoft to compete well with other companies in the so called post-PC era. It could, but…

If you lookback a few years on how digital devices such as Music Players, Phones, Tablets/Pads …etc. have evolved over the years it is clear that a lot of them have gone from sole-purpose devices to all-purpose *devices. Some of those purposes now include content consumption and content manipulation such as streaming media, videos, music …etc. as well as information sharing through social updates and so on. Others include banking, email, tasks …etc. The common thing in each scenario is that data is either being pulled out of somewhere or being pushed into *somewhere. With that in mind, think about how many services can be improved or made use of if the data in question was able to be used externally to the core service. Microsoft may be able to offer some services, but Microsoft alone is not enough.

In the Devices + Servicesera, the more services available to be consumed, the better value one can get out of a device. In the context of Microsoft’s new direction, think about how many Windows Store or Windows Phone style apps can be built if more and more data is available to be accessed every day. In one way lack of apps is a result of lack of good quality content accessibility. This is where I believe DaaShas a role to play. I know that there already exists many APIs that can be consumed today by these devices. However, what’s available is no where near enough. Currently there is a limitation that some institutions/companies with good quality data do not have apps that allow users to consume this data and use it and as a result this data is locked. The only way for the data to be unlocked is if the content owners themselves build their own apps and that’s the problem – not all data owners can/will build apps for each available platform.

Using companies such as Facebook and Twitter for example, they own content and this makes them the best shaped people to build apps to allow accessing that content. In the case of these two companies they do have APIs to some extent but with that there are also limitations that prevent 3rd party developers from being able to utilise the data fully. Yes, I know that may be desirable in some scenarios, but what about smaller companies. Ones with data that could be used to improve other services but are unable to expose it due to lack of resources, ROI and so on. Wouldn’t they be able to offer more if they used a *DaaS *model and rather than build the apps themselves just provide a service that allows users to access/buy access to their data?

As a result I really think that for the Devices + Services to succeed we need more data to consume… if you have data that can be shared to make other services possible, simpler or better then share it! It’s time to make DaaS the next big thing along side Devices + Services.