It’s the next great challenge in the future of remote work: providing globally dispersed teams with the right hardware they need to do their best work.
In the 2000s through to the 2010s, organization leaders sought out Managed Services providers for their IT infrastructure and hardware needs. Rather than buy, maintain, and fix individual devices for each member, teams instead thrived on outsourcing the supply of their technological equipment.
That trend hasn’t abated. The cost-cutting advantage of moving away from the old break-fix model gave teams more flexibility and an easier way to access cutting-edge hardware on a short timeline. Now, the trend has evolved even further to meet the needs of a digitally transformed workplace.
We call it Device as a Service (DaaS), and it can fundamentally change the way teams complete projects from start to finish.
Managed Services Vs DaaS: The Difference
In a Managed Services agreement, teams essentially rent their equipment from a knowledgeable third-party, removing many of the maintenance and upgrade costs associated with a big tech spend. The user has access to the productive power of the latest tech without the burden of ownership—the same advantages enjoyed by a driver leasing a car.
Yet working effectively in an era of digital transformation isn’t as simple as a morning commute. A driver can expect their leased vehicle to handle virtually all their transportation needs over several years. Meanwhile, team members working in technical and even non-technical roles are handling an ever-widening array of digital tasks. One device is likely not enough in a world that’s seen the number of internet-connected devices double over the past five years.
Now, team members can see projects through to completion on tablets, smartphones, PCs, and more, whether they’re remote or in-office. That’s a lot of leases, and with every new device comes a heightened risk for extra expenditure without an equal gain.
DaaS moves the model away from a basic long-term rental agreement and more towards a monthly leasing option — one that works with the flexible needs of modern organizations. This subscription-based model of device management offers several key advantages over the traditional way of procuring technology.
The Challenges with Device Management
It’s no secret that IT managers face a mountain of daunting challenges when it comes to device management. But, it’s not just IT managers who feel the frustration – the pain can radiate throughout the entire organization from the CEO and CFO to employees.
- Lack of visibility: With the increase of work-from-anywhere, the headache of employee geographical dispersity is increasing and leads to a lack of visibility across the entire device ecosystem. Inventory management systems are often outdated and manual and are subject to human error.
- Outdated technology: Lack of visibility and funds means many employees are utilizing devices that are outdated. New employees are usually given the latest technology, which can leave big technological gaps between the same type of employees. This also puts a huge strain on IT teams who struggle to manage the maintainance and upgrades on older devices.
- Maintenance: Older hardware and software require more maintenance and upkeep and, eventually, it will simply stop being able to keep up with newer devices. This can create massive productivity drains on both employees utilizing the devices and IT teams who are charged with supporting them.
- Security: Lack of visibility, disparate devices, poor inventory management, and differing maintenance schedules create security nightmares.
- Increasing costs: Device upgrades, maintenance, lost/stolen/misplaced devices, IT staff augmentation, and device replacements are pushing up mobile costs.
- Lack of flexibility: Buying devices in bulk seems like a great idea to save money and simplify; however, these types of decisions often fail to account for the specific needs of the employee and what types of applications they’ll need to do their job.
- Device disposal: What happens when a device is returned or is being replaced? Where does the old one go? Who is responsible for wiping the hard drives, removing passwords, and other precautions? IT teams are now expected to function as full-service recycling centers, and this can lead to confusion, cost overruns, and security risks.
- Logistics: Many organizations lack a centralized device ordering mechanism and struggle to deploy, provision, configure, kit, and manage global IT assets.
Benefits of DaaS
Delivering cutting-edge devices to every team member can seem like a daunting challenge. DaaS is designed to mitigate many of the bottlenecks and common concerns users have about their devices, all while creating more robust lifecycle management for leadership.
The top-line benefits of implementing DaaS in an organization include:
All-in-one pricing. Rather than paying for each device on an ad hoc basis, DaaS brings transparency into the bottom line thanks to the subscription model. Organizations can reduce total cost of ownership while creating a customized device package for an affordable monthly cost, with a single monthly lease payment.
Improved productivity. 80% of working respondents in one survey noted outdated technology as an impediment to completing their work, with an estimated 1.8 billion hours lost to this issue in the UK alone. Many of these antiquated devices are owned by their organizations or leased out beyond their useful lifespan. Shifting to a DaaS model keeps obsolete tech from becoming a drain on operational success.
Expanded mobility. The trend toward providing devices as a service goes hand-in-hand with the shift toward work-from-anywhere team culture. Applications vital for getting work done remotely can come pre-installed on a given device, allowing employees to get up-and-running within minutes.
Budget saver. DaaS can simplify budgeting and forecasting for mobile programs. The more DaaS is used, the more data can be collected to analyze trends and gain insights into future needs and costs.
All these advantages collectively create a more agile strategy for organizations, thanks to scalability. The end-to-end quality of DaaS ensures a seamless transition between devices, whether it’s for upgrade, replacement, or to widen the capabilities of what a team can accomplish.
DaaS Across Departments
Productivity gains and a work-from-anywhere reality can be felt throughout organizations that implement DaaS. The benefits also extend in some unique ways depending on the responsibilities of each individual team.
One of the biggest advantages is in IT departments, which have been chronically burdened with a backlog of projects to get done. Technical staff often find their time and resources eaten up by troubleshooting issues throughout their organization. These same user helpdesk requests can be streamlined thanks to the DaaS service provider’s support model.
With internal staff freed from technical support, IT experts can now focus on tasks critical to an organization’s operations and profitability. They might begin with business intelligence, particularly since DaaS can unlock more data insights thanks to the greater visibility into device usage.
Part of the DaaS service package includes dashboards that reveal useful information on outages, device location, software installations, and more. IT team members can then use this information to improve on the quality of operations, make useful changes to their service package, and build a more sustainable long-term model for sustaining higher growth.
Similar gains can be made with Human Resources staff as well. Requests for new devices can be made through an employee portal, allowing automation to do the rote work while HR focuses on their most vital tasks. Meanwhile, accounting teams have a much clearer picture of cost with an all-inclusive DaaS model, allowing leadership to make better financial decisions across their organization.
Unlocking a DaaS Future
The last barrier to implementing DaaS in an organization is often simple inertia. Resistance to change, while expected, can lead to financial waste and time loss, as the decision to stick with an older model of device management becomes a sunk cost.
Yet year by year, things are changing, and not just in organizations known for technical proficiency. The US Census Bureau, for instance, successfully deployed mobile devices to over 500,000 contractors for its 2020 census, representing the largest DaaS deployment for any federal agency in history. The upshot: a 50% increase in productivity compared to previous methods, and proof positive that even government bureaucracies can bring this service model into their operations.
Each organization’s DaaS tech stack will look, function, and operate differently. The deep level of customization available via device subscriptions ensures a long-term adaptability to the latest technological changes. Managed Services gave us the blueprint for what a nimble dispersed workforce can look like—now, DaaS is ready to take teams to their next level of scalable productivity.