Has Device-as-a-Service Really Changed Anything?

Device-as-a-Service has piggybacked off the subscription service model, but has it effected meaningful change for enterprise IT teams along the way?

For enterprises with limited IT budgets, the current tech trend toward subscription services — including everything from software and communication to infrastructure and platforms — can be a smart way to acquire cutting-edge products without having to make costly capital expenditures. By shifting IT costs to the operational side of your balance sheet, you can free up capital for other projects and allow your internal IT staff to spend more time on long-term improvements.

One development within this trend is DaaS — that is, device-as-a-service. While DaaS is newer to the scene than SaaS, it has gained attention in the enterprise space for its wide-ranging potential. Indeed, forecasts from Market Research Future indicate that the DaaS market is likely to reach approximately $8 billion by 2023.

In the DaaS model, enterprises work with vendors to provision their entire team with devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, and state-of-the-art workstations. With a single agreement, DaaS brings device deployment, management, maintenance, and support under a primary point of contact equipped and trained to handle issues ranging from security patches to hardware upgrades.

While the advantages of DaaS are easy to imagine, it’s worth understanding what’s behind the hype. After all, DaaS may mean different things to different enterprises as the specific agreement between you and your vendors are likely to provide your team with solutions crafted to your specific needs. Before you invest, then, take the time to learn more about DaaS, how it’s being deployed, and what the market looks like so far with regard to this emerging trend.

Evaluating the Benefits of DaaS

The thinking behind DaaS isn’t in itself revolutionarity. In the past, vendors have offered similar agreements for desktops, printers, and copiers, in which enterprises pay monthly fees for hardware on a lease. However, the breadth of DaaS, as well as the advantages this kind of model offers, are potentially game-changing for the teams who can maximize its benefits and control the disadvantages.

For example, DaaS allows you and your IT staff to scale up device deployment as needed. Because vendors configure smartphones, computers, tablets, and more for you, your employees will have cutting-edge hardware at their disposal — along with the latest security updates and appropriate factory setting modifications — as soon as they turn each device on. What’s more, if your team grows or contracts unexpectedly — or if the deployment of devices that works best for you changes — DaaS agreements allow you to make these adjustments quickly without wasting money or consigning old hardware to gather dust in storage.

Outside of these immediate benefits, adopting DaaS can help you in more qualitative ways. Free from the burden of putting out small fires, your IT team can focus on long-term projects — think IoT tranformation — that can have a more dramatically positive impact on your business than just getting a new hire’s smartphone and laptop up and running. While those needs are important, a single point of contact through a DaaS vendor can handle that task just as well and, often, more cost-effectively.

With that said, DaaS doesn’t come without potential disadvantages for certain teams. For instance, as with many of today’s third-party tech services, entrusting a vendor with your proprietary data does carry risks in today’s aggressive cybercrime ecosystem. This makes it imperative to fully vet prospective vendors to understand their experience and know what steps they take to protect your employees, your information, and your network.

Understanding the DaaS Market

For today’s enterprises, migrating to the DaaS model won’t happen all at once. Instead, it’s more likely that businesses will test the waters before fully implementing a strategy that works for them. However, vendors are beginning to make moves to get ahead of the DaaS curve.

HP announced an expansion of its DaaS programs in 2018, making it one of the largest vendors to go all-in on this trend. While HP’s model fits within what experts know about DaaS, it does have compelling wrinkles. For starters, HP will include Apple products — popular with on-the-ground employees — within their inventory of available devices. Paired with a new real-time hardware analytics and device management suite, instant device replacement at vending stations, and more, it’s clear that HP sees a bright future for this new kind of adaptable device deployment.

While enterprises will likely wait to learn more about DaaS before investing fully, experts predict that it will become a popular model for businesses looking for lower, more predictable IT costs. Indeed, research from IDC in 2017 noted that while only 2% of commercial PCs shipped in 2016 operated under a DaaS agreement, that number is expected to reach approximately one-third by 2020.

Evolving with DaaS

If you and your IT team are considering DaaS, you should be sure to understand how it will impact your networks as you transition and once the program is off the ground. For instance, the deployment of dozens, or potentially hundreds, of cutting-edge smartphones, computers, tablets, and workstations may place more strain on your IT infrastructure than existing (possibly outdated) hardware. Accordingly, you may need to invest in network upgrades that can empower your team to make the most of their new devices.

Similarly, IT staff will need to adjust to a modified set of responsibilities. Whereas they might have spent a sizeable portion of their workday managing tickets of employees having issues with their phones or tablets, those tasks will likely fall under the purview of your DaaS vendor. This means that tech professionals should prepare to act as liaisons with vendors while simultaneously investing more of their time in long-term projects for your enterprise.

How Managed Services Providers Fit In

Ultimately, whether or not a DaaS solution works for your business will depend on your organization’s unique needs. For instance, if your limited IT staff is overloaded with tickets from outdated devices and thus unable to invest enough time into transformative digital goals, that’s a good indicator that working with a DaaS vendor can help you make better use of your team’s time and expertise.

If you do decide to introduce DaaS into your workforce, it will be important to take a strategic approach. Understand exactly what bottlenecks DaaS can help you resolve and be sure to highlight those as you evaluate possible vendors. Additionally, work with your IT team to gain visibility into what network improvements will need to be made to accommodate the transition and maintain the highest levels of cybersecurity in the process.

For a wide range of enterprises, this kind of transformation can be a tall order. By working with an experienced partner, however, you can share the burden of updating your fleet of devices while benefiting from the industry expertise of a trusted partner. With a managed services provider like Turn-key Technologies (TTI), you and your team can be sure you’re getting the most value out of this emerging trend.

With decades of experience in the IT space, TTI has the resources and industry contacts you need to make the most of DaaS. Whether you’re intent on starting your migration as soon as possible or you want an outside opinion before you move forward, TTI can help.

By Tony Ridzyowski


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