As the principles of Digital Transformation become entrenched in organisations across all industries, long-held beliefs about technology are increasingly being challenged.
IT departments are no longer tasked with just keeping the lights on, but now face driving genuine change across the business.
One obvious shift has been the move from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. Although private data centres and servers continue to play a role in hybrid strategies, cloud software and infrastructure have enjoyed widespread adoption.
There is a general recognition that cloud-based services can power innovative applications, new ways of working and reduce the maintenance burden on the IT department. Because these services are subscription-based, organisations can improve cost efficiencies and predictability.
If these benefits can be achieved at an infrastructural level, then it’s no surprise that organisations are seeking to harness similar efficiencies in other areas of IT, including their hardware.
‘Device-as- a-Service’ is a new subscription-based approach to hardware procurement and management supported by some of the biggest names in technology, including Dell, HP, Lenovo and Microsoft.
Traditionally, organisations have purchased new devices – most commonly PCs, but also tablets, smartphones and other equipment – on a cyclical basis, refreshing their hardware estate every 2-3 years. This purchasing model necessitates significant up-front CAPEX costs and is largely inflexible.
With DaaS, organisations pay a per-user subscription fee each month. Devices are effectively leased to the customer and bundled with additional services, such as ongoing support and lifecycle management.
The subscription fee usually covers the physical delivery of the device, the pre-loading of certain applications and maintenance. The ability to make DaaS an operating cost rather than a capital expenditure is particularly valuable for mid-sized and emerging businesses when budgeting. This is because when the time comes for a hardware refresh, there is no need for another major capital investment, or for an organisation to sell or dispose of old devices.
There are other advantages too. Some subscription models include the monitoring of systems to predict faults before they happen. Proactive maintenance or the delivery of a new device means there is no downtime – avoiding an impact on productivity or revenue.
For example, if a Point of Sale (POS) terminal goes down on a Saturday afternoon at a retailer, the impact on revenue can be severe.
DaaS can also make your IT department more productive. One of the biggest selling points of cloud services is that updates and patches are handled by a third-party, freeing up IT departments to focus on innovation. Many of these principles apply equally to hardware.
After all, if IT teams are spending less time fixing hardware, they can spend more time identifying areas of the business that can be optimised or transformed with technology.
A subscription-based hardware service also means organisations are more likely to be using the newest technology. DaaS shortens the lifespan of devices in a hardware estate, ensuring the workforce isn’t impacted by aging or insecure machines.
Subscriptions can also be configured in such a way to ensure certain departments receive new equipment more frequently than others. For example, someone working predominantly with cloud and productivity applications will need a new PC less frequently than a video editor who might benefit from new features and more processing power.
The consumerisation of IT means employees want to be able to use the same technology at work as they do in their personal lives. These expectations have led to the adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in many workplaces.
The fact is, if employees aren’t satisfied with the tools they are given, then they won’t use them to their full potential. It is true of applications and it is true of hardware. Handing staff archaic laptops or smartphones will decrease satisfaction and increase the risk of them using their own unmanaged devices for work purposes.
Outdated devices could even have an impact on recruitment, as it’s entirely possible that some candidates might opt for a different role if their technology demands are not met. DaaS ensures employees have access to tools they actually want to use.
There are also cost efficiencies to be gained. One of the major drivers of cloud adoption has been the shift from a Capital Expenditure (CapEx) to an Operational Expenditure (OpEX) model and DaaS is a natural extension of this trend.
Because DaaS is a monthly subscription rather than a significant up-front investment, the cost of new equipment doesn’t have such a severe impact on budgets. It also ensures capital isn’t tied up and can be used for other projects.
Finance departments benefit from cost-predictability, as procurement, maintenance and disposal is included in the subscription. Organisations can add or subtract users as their business scales up or down.
In the era of Digital Transformation, just about every area of technology is undergoing an evolution. Work is becoming more mobile, more agile and more data driven – with the cloud acting as the platform that links people, processes and machines together.
During a time of such change it is surprising that the way organisations purchase and maintain hardware would not also undergo a revolution.
By combining the infrastructural and cultural elements of Digital Transformation with a DaaS strategy, organisations can fulfil the full potential of this IT revolution.