Device as-a-service: Staying Ahead Of The Game

Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2018
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I first looked at Device-as-a-Service just over a year ago, mainly due to the noise being made by key partners to Softcat, namely; HPi, Dell EMC, Lenovo, Apple and Microsoft.

Device as-a-Service and Desktop as-a-Service: what's the difference?

Firstly let's clear something up, Device-as-a-Service is different to Desktop-as-a-service.

  • Desktop-as-a-Service
    Is centred around supplying a datacentre-based, highly-secured virtualised desktop, accessible on a wide range of devices.
  • Device-as-a-Service
    Is a flexible way to manage the actual hardware delivery and management. The service is wide ranging and allows the customer to pick from a 'shopping list' to match exactly what they need, but covers just supply of a device through to proactive monitoring and full lifecycle management.

Staying ahead of the game

One thing has been clear to me when speaking to many of the vendors we work with - this is one of their 'big bets' for the coming few years. All the big players are very much in their infancy with offering this as a service - hence why there is so much confusion about what it actually is. In fact all the previously mentioned vendors have a differing view, but I suspect that's down to their differing priorities and capabilities. Is it going to stop customers buying through CapEx and keeping the management of their devices within their organisation? Not at all. If providers don't embrace DaaS will they get left behind? Yes, I think any option that offers more flexibility for you and your organisation is a must. Flexibility and choice is the key part.

Let's clear something else up. Is 'Device-as-a-Service' a glorified finance model that allows customers to switch purchases that are historically through CapEx, to OpEx? No - finance is not how or why this conversation should start. Is it important? Absolutely. Is it necessary? No, it's an option that provides flexibility.

To summarise: In my opinion, the finance option is the vehicle which best suits the solution and arguably delivers the most cost-efficient way, but it's an option for your organisation that again allows flexibility.

Delivering cost-efficiencies

This feeds heavily into the consumption-based trend most customers and suppliers are looking to embrace nowadays with the likes of Office 365 and Cloud Computing, making it adaptable to dynamic business environments.

For my sins most of my experience has been in Managed Print Services - an archaic and dying industry, some say. But then MPS offers print hardware, predominantly on finance, fully delivered, followed by ongoing support and pro-active management to ensure customers can focus on more important areas and get maximum cost and efficiency savings. So isn't DaaS just copying a proven method? Probably, but by no means can it be treated the same.

For me, and this is only my opinion, the real value is the ongoing analytics and performance data we as a supplier can now give back to customers. In a world full of data, I find it strange that this is limited on customer devices. As a supplier, we can use the information to better service the equipment, and as a customer, you can use the insightful information to make more intelligent and informed decisions for greater cost and efficiency savings. We can show how efficient a disparate fleet of machines are operating, give component-level proactive health monitoring & maintenance and ultimately increase the user experience of the devices.

Is DaaS the end goal? No, I actually believe this is the first stepping stone from large vendors who have predominently provided transactional products to contractual offerings. I believe you will see certain 'as-a-Service' models combine for end user devices (printers, laptops, pc, mobile devices, connectivity and unified com's etc) allowing suppliers to offer a true 'workplace-as-a-Service' offering on a single contract that allows flexibility based on per desk or consumption model basis.

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For more information on the different components that are available through DaaS and how Softcat can help, please visit our page on Device as-a-Service, get in touch using the button below or speak to your account manager to arrange a call with one of our specialists.

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