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Managing a multitude of devices, from laptops and desktops to smartphones and tablets, across an enterprise can be a daunting task for IT administrators.
For some time now, enterprises have relied on third-party service providers and systems integrators (SIs) to do the job, whether it is configuring devices to suit their IT environment or retiring a system towards the end of their hardware refresh cycle.
In a bid to offer value-added services beyond shipping hardware boxes, hardware suppliers have been getting into the business of providing hardware leasing and support services in what is now known as device as a service (DaaS) for a recurring cost – and appear to be doing well too.
At Lenovo, for example, global revenues from services have been growing at over 30% year-on-year. The PC hardware supplier offers services that run the gamut – from assessing an enterprise’s device deployment requirements and tagging hardware assets, to configuring systems and even wiping data from retired devices.
“Some of our SIs may not be able to do all of these things, especially in the planning and configuration stages of the device lifecycle,” said Sabrina Hiu, director for services at Lenovo Central Asia-Pacific, claiming that because Lenovo works closely with customers, it is better positioned to develop device strategies suited to an enterprise’s IT environment.
That does not mean Lenovo is cutting out SIs that still play a key role to support its customers when it comes to device deployment and support, Hiu said. “We will still have to engage partners because they have already built up a network in the field,” she added.
Hiu singled out financial services, hospitality and healthcare as some of the key industries that have been turning to Lenovo for computing devices and accompanying support services. Because these industries tend to have varying hardware requirements throughout the year, DaaS is particularly appealing and cost-effective in catering to peaks and troughs in business cycles, Hiu noted.
Besides helping to maintain a consistent operating expenditure, DaaS also helps to alleviate the workloads of IT operations staff, freeing up their time to keep up with technology developments and to support their companies’ core business, she added.
DaaS offerings do not just support devices made by a specific supplier. Hiu said Lenovo also supports devices made by rivals, including mobile devices, deployed not only in offices but also in field locations such as factory floors and retail outlets.
There might be cases where DaaS does not make sense, particularly for smaller companies with fewer than 100 employees, Hiu said, adding that such services are best suited for organisations that can achieve economies of scale out of their device deployments.
According to IDC, adoption of DaaS is still in the nascent stages, though this will improve over the next two years as the industry competes to offer more scalable and modular DaaS services, along with flexible financing. The migration to Microsoft Windows 10 is also expected to bolster adoption.
Read more about DaaS
- The device-as-a-service market is poised for growth as customers look to trim Capex, but channel partners may need to recast themselves if they want to serve as a DaaS provider.
- Device-as-a-service offerings can help IT pros provide their users with support and high-functioning devices, but they must consider the ramifications of choosing such a programme.
- For some organisations, leasing devices and support, also known as device as a service, is the best option for device management.
- HP claims the majority of its customers are interested in device as a service, and nearly half are already using it.