Device as a Service (DaaS) models are quickly emerging as the most effective and economical way to source productivity hardware. A 2016 IDC survey found that one-quarter of participants were actively looking at DaaS, and among those that were not, nearly 20 percent said they planned to do so in the next 12 months. But while adoption might still seem light-years away, businesses must begin the transition to DaaS now or risk getting left behind.
Why is this shift imperative now? A more dynamic model, DaaS offers a range of advantages, satisfying many parts of your business. It offers overall cost savings and increased time to market, flexibility and scalability; faster upgrades and device refresh cycles along with improved security; and a better user experience while freeing IT from the day-to-day management of hundreds or even thousands of devices.
In fact, DaaS enables a key objective of most IT teams: Deploy and manage technology to allow people to do what they do best. By sticking with traditional models, businesses are leaving opportunities on the table and not meeting the full potential of driving innovation to reinvent their businesses.
The first step to adopting DaaS is engaging with potential service providers. Here are the top five questions you need to be asking them:
1. Does DaaS Fit Your Business?
DaaS is about more than just devices. It’s about the outcomes that a well-executed, holistic DaaS service provider will deliver for your business. A worthy provider will understand how your business works and what your workforce needs to deliver the business outcomes that you demand. Look for a provider who understands your business and your goals.
Then look for a provider with the variety of devices and accessories that enable you to mix and match to suit each job function.
Is there a robust selection of powerful workstations, reliable laptops, latest-generation mobile devices and specialized devices such as point of sale? Can they deploy solutions across the country, across the globe and regardless of the device’s operating system? Do they support and service options to ensure high productivity from anywhere?
2. Will DaaS Make Your Business More Competitive?
Perhaps the most valuable feature of DaaS is the analytics that provide insights to support your business. The right provider uses data to optimize and proactively manage assets and resources.
This yields efficiencies by reducing the device-per-employee ratio, while also granting employees unhampered access to the top-of-the-line technologies and resources that they need. This, in turn, leads to more productivity, creativity and a more competitive business.
DaaS can also impact recruiting. Millennials, now comprising one-third of the American workforce, see devices as an extension of themselves and expect no trade-offs when it comes to technology. Their devices need to be stylish, powerful and lightweight. Until this becomes the de facto model at your business, a DaaS model can be an attractive recruiting enticement. Does the provider offer desired models? Do they offer energy-efficient technology (a rising concern to both employees and customers)?
3. How Much Will DaaS Streamline Your IT Implementation?
The right DaaS strategy can dramatically reduce the complexity of purchasing computing solutions. Look for providers that offer flexible solutions; ones that offer easy scalability and customization as your business grows and changes.
And as your business changes, look for providers with the expertise to understand how your device and solutions needs are changing.
Ask your service provider the following questions: What devices are best suited to my company? How often can you upgrade your devices? How quickly can you get more of a device to match changes in workforce? Is there a limit to the number of devices that can be added to the service? Does the provider offer a favorable pricing structure to support upward and downward flexibility? Is the structure favorable?
4. How Will DaaS Impact IT Productivity?
A key benefit of DaaS is the promise of freeing up your IT teams. According to research from IDC underwritten by HP, 50 percent of IT managers believe they spend too much time procuring and managing company devices, and 63 percent say those resources can be better used on other, more strategic IT projects such as security and digital transformation. Look for a provider that manages the day-to-day monitoring and management of your fleet. Do they use analytics to improve end-user productivity and IT efficiency with analytics and proactive management? That includes inventory and health monitoring to help identify and predict conditions, so you can mitigate hardware issues in advance.
5. Will DaaS Improve Your Cybersecurity?
Cybercrime is on track to cost businesses a combined $8 trillion by 2022, according to Juniper Research. DaaS proactively protects businesses from attacks and data theft by monitoring each device and how it adheres to security policies, data access and approved apps.
Look for a provider that offers multilayered enterprise-class security from malware protection and real-time policy violation, and firewall and antivirus disruption alerts. What is the plan for lost or stolen devices? Can they be found, locked, erased? What about retiring devices?
Too often, old PCs end up stashed in desk drawers, still filled with sensitive company data. A DaaS model not only ensures those devices are collected and wiped of their data, but that the businesses also recover the residual hardware value.
As with any shift to a new business model, change within an organization takes time. But waiting too long can move your business from the fast track to irrelevancy. Starting conversations with vendors early is key to moving your business forward, driving productivity and enhancing security. And asking these key questions is a great place to start on the road to DaaS.