There has been a lot of talk recently about the way enterprises acquire and maintain personal computers and other devices such as phones and tablets. While models that come close to a leasing approach - enabling companies to more or less lease their PC fleet from a manufacturer - have been around for some time, research suggests that more comprehensive device-as-a-service (DaaS) models are now gaining more traction.
With DaaS, a company typically leases a range of devices for a specific period of time at a monthly fee. In addition, the subscription includes maintenance or even a fully managed service, comprising for example, on-site support, analytics to monitor hardware security or potential failures, and endpoint management solutions. This way, the complete process, from device acquisition to management and retirement, is taken care of by a third-party provider in a single contract.
DaaS presents enterprises with a number of advantages. The holistic solution that differentiates DaaS from hardware leasing ensures a lot of flexibility to scale the hardware over time. Being able to scale their hardware up or down depending on their needs allows companies to be flexible should they require an adjustment to the size of their workforce, thus saving resources and cost. DaaS also makes the total cost of ownership (TCO) of device deployment more predictable. Monthly costs are fixed in advance so the costs over a product’s lifecycle are more certain. At the same time, employees receive the latest technology and have guaranteed access to customized services and support, including device configuration and data migration. The analytics part of DaaS solutions can also help companies run their systems in a more cost-efficient way. DaaS analytics are often able to monitor the utilization rate of individual devices, enabling companies to find the most efficient device configurations for any particular deployment. Outsourcing device maintenance and management also frees up valuable time for IT departments, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives rather than on the day-to-day management of a fleet of devices.
The advantages of DaaS are clear, and recent research shows that subscription-based PC services models are catching on. However, it is still early days for this new way of managing device fleets. Organisations need to be aware that while shorter device replacement cycles are one of the upsides, the timing of device upgrades is usually fixed in the contract. Also, OEMs typically offer a limited range of PCs to choose from rather than let companies pick systems from their entire portfolio. Even more importantly, many companies are dealing with legacy processes that make it difficult to implement new solutions such as DaaS, and CIOs need to put a lot of trust in the hands of third-party providers and their ability to provide an adequate ROI to subscribers. Mid-term though, the ability of DaaS to unburden IT departments while simultaneously offering increased flexibility and cost savings will certainly lead to a rise in demand for subscription-based IT management models.
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