Device as a service (DaaS) is the bundling and offering of management services and IT equipment. This includes computers, laptops, smartphones, and other mobile computing devices, bundled with software products in a paid subscription. DaaS is offered as an alternative to purchasing and setting up devices individually. This model has also been used to simplify the IT management through the outsourcing of the IT role to the device provider. And the DaaS model has been used by companies to quickly scale up or down devices to serve shifting organizational needs and to give an organization more immediate access to the latest technology.
For potential DaaS vendors, or those working to develop a business with a DaaS model, it can be challenging as the business model refers to a new type of supply chain model that combines device fulfillment, device services, and device recovery into a continuous flow that provides a seamless end-to-end customer experience.
In this schema, device fulfillment refers to how devices are put into the hands of customers, as DaaS does not use a traditional order-based model. Device services refers to the need for DaaS providers to understand the product, and unlike with add-on service models, the components and devices change over time as part of the DaaS offering. And device recovery refers to the ability for a DaaS provider to improve return on assets by recovering value through device repair, and redeployment.
Device as a service is often confused with desktop as a service, especially as they both share the DaaS acronym. While device as a service is the offering of bundled hardware, software, and lifecycle management services, desktop as a service (which existed before device as a service) offers a hosted virtual desktop (hosted either on-premise or in a data center or cloud), which takes responsibility for hosting and maintaining the image, storage, access infrastructure, applications, and software licenses that are offered in a subscription model.
DaaS customers are either enterprise or consumer, but with an emphasis on enterprise and small- to medium-sized businesses.The industry has been seen as a change that represents a change in customer behavior, with customers looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary waste while keeping up with current technology and receiving customized and individual product experiences capable of meeting their specific needs. This is what DaaS vendors work to provide, offering a hardware device bundled with a variety of services and software for a monthly subscription fee. This is different from hardware leasing, in which an organization purchases or leases hardware; instead, DaaS offers a holistic solution, including offering broad flexibility and an ability to scale the hardware over time. Further, customers are able to leave the challenges of lifecycle management to the DaaS provider.
Benefits of Device as a Service
DaaS vendors only charge for what they provide, or what a customer needs and only when they need it, through a predictable monthly subscription. This arrangement can allow users to scale up or down rapidly as a team grows or shrinks. Further, DaaS providers work to offer transparent and consistent pricing while removing the upfront costs associated with procuring new devices.
DaaS providers can offer users insights and predictive analytics based on data collected from actual data from a fleet of devices. This can help a business streamline and optimize practices, and allow for them to manage their devices through a comprehensive solution for complete visibility over their devices. This can help businesses can make data-driven decisions about devices and business technology.
DaaS vendors work to provide organizations with greater flexibility in device selection, allowing customers to deliver the right technology depending on an employee's function, and allows those devices to be upgraded to ensure users are not left without obsolete technology.
DaaS providers can offer expert advice for clients to ensure they get the best devices for the client's budget and needs, and can provide ongoing and regular contact with device manufacturers and partners to help customers continue to manage warranties and technical support on the customers behalf.
DaaS can provide customers with business mobility and off-site working flexibility as a vendor can provide them with portable devices. This can further provide employees with greater productivity and uninterrupted connectivity regardless of where they choose to work, and removed the need for multiple adapters and additional software installs.
For DaaS customers and providers, there is a certain lifecycle that will change or depend on the vendor and their offerings and the customer and their needs. However, a general lifecycle guideline can include six steps: planning, procuring the devices, enrolling the devices with a UEM, deploying devices, monitoring DaaS endpoints, and device refreshing.
This first step refers to the decisions made around the technological core of the business and what type of devices are required based on the businesses needs and requirements. This can be done through a comparative process, in which the business compares current devices to offered devices, or through an advised process with the DaaS vendor. As well, this process can include device environment, preferred operating systems, applications needed, device configurations, and setting required, as well as any individual specific needs. This can require a business to research DaaS vendors to understand which can provide the devices and services the business needs.
The procurement step, as it sounds, includes actually choosing and receiving the devices from a DaaS vendor. In the DaaS model, vendors provide devices pre-configured with the settings specified by the customer, especially in the case where a customer is looking as a DaaS model as an opportunity to reduce the size of their IT department.
Enrolling the devices with a UEM could be considered the first optional step in the general lifecycle; however, this enrollment can combine the device management capabilities of a UEM with a DaaS that can help an organization manage, monitor, and secure the endpoints with minimal time and effort.
Following an enrollment, if choosing to do so, the next step is self-explanatory and involves deploying the devices to the end-users in the business.
Monitoring the DaaS endpoints refers to the periodic updating of deployed devices and the regular monitoring and report analysis. This allows a DaaS vendor to help customers in effectively managing the leased hardware assets.
Device refreshing refers to the periodic software or hardware updates that can help end-users keep up with changes in technology and needs. This part of the lifecycle is considered one of the core benefits of the DaaS model, as a company can change an older device fleet for a newer one as business and contracts allow, without facing upfront costs.
The model of DaaS emerged at some point between 2014 and 2015, when PC manufacturers, representing less than 1 percent of all manufactures, began shipping devices as part of a DaaS model. According to research from firm IDC, this number is set to grow from twelve to fifteen percent of all desktop and laptop sales in 2022, with the percentage including consumer and enterprise sales.
This growth is occurring because by 2019, 65 percent of all major PC manufacturers began offering DaaS options to customers. According to Kevin Dobbs, leader of Accenture's Everything-as-a-Service practice, stated a belief based on these numbers that Device as a Service would be the future of PC manufacturers and other hardware suppliers in order to keep up with business and consumer expectations and demands.
Two of the major and early vendors in the DaaS Ecosystem include Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Microsoft. HP's offering, often called HP DaaS, offers many device options ranging from desktops to laptops and other devices, with HP expanding their offerings to include devices such as Apple Macs, iPads, and iPhones.
On the other hand, Microsoft has called their offering Surface as a Service, named after the company's hardware line. This service bundles Microsoft's proprietary software such as Windows operating system, Office 365, and Teams on a Surface Book that are offered as a paid subscription service.
Part of the growth of the model has been considered to be fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns, which had employees working from home. This saw workers and organizations scramble to provide the appropriate compute tools to allow those employees to do their jobs, resulting in laptop and computer-buying frenzies. During this period, companies decided it could be easier to buy a machine fully loaded and configured for workers to do their jobs at home, which allowed those companies to streamline the process of enabling a large number of at-home workers that did not exist previously. Further, the DaaS arrangements included support from vendors or partners as individuals as needed, reducing stress on IT departments.
As workforces continue to work remotely or in hybrid work situations, the benefits of DaaS have continued to be seen as ideal for organizations looking to continue to support those dispersed and hybrid workers. Some vendors have extended to offer features such as custom bundling to ensure that an end-user's home situation includes the equipment they require, without needing to travel to an office or other location to pick up missing items or replace faulty devices.
Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) Supply Chain Model | Accenture
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