Our 5-minute guide to PC as a service

What is PC as a service, how can it benefit your business, and how do you get started?

data, managed services, MSP, outsourcing, hardware, business

PC as a Service (PCaaS) has become a popular alternative to standard PC lifecycle management. It allows IT departments to offload logistical and maintenance responsibilities to focus on more pressing tasks, such as security.

In many ways, PCaaS is also linked to digital transformation as it is another 'as a service' model that's enabled businesses to adopt newer and better technology with minimal fuss. In the US, the market is expected to reach $141.6 billion by 2024, according to Market Watch, substantially higher than the $15.9 billion it was estimated to be worth in 2019.

What is PCaaS?

The PCaaS model, also sometimes known as 'device as a service' (DaaS), aims to simplify PC lifecycle management by pulling together hardware, software, servicing, and financing into one single setup. The idea is to improve the workforce experience and create pain-free IT operating between employees and their computers.

It is also a fundamental way in which a CIO can help add more digital services to a company, improve performance, and ultimately compete in their respective field.

There are a number of vendors in the PCaaS market, each with varying packages. Large companies such as Dell can offer comprehensive services, with 24-hour support, and 'Services Delivery Manager' to act as a single point of contact.

Whatever provider you use and no matter the plan you choose, it will be made up of five fundamental pillars said to constitute PCaaS:

  • Devices and software are selected by IT departments.
  • Configuration services are offered, including imaging, tagging, software packaging, and so on.
  • Remote management services focus mainly on break/fix types of issues, and can also directly manage devices, security and network configuration settings.
  • Asset recovery involves switching retired machines for new devices.
  • Fixed financing ensures the above elements are combined under a single per-month subscription charge.

What are the business benefits of PCaaS?

A long office desk with multiple PCs displaying Windows 10 home screen

The beauty of PCaaS is in the simplicity it provides. It mitigates costs by bundling all devices, software and services together into a transparent fixed monthly rate, enabling IT departments to abdicate management responsibility to the vendor. With a liberated workflow and freed resources, IT departments can focus on higher value-added initiatives that drive the business forward.

Everything from mobile devices to desktops is supported by PCaaS. Organisations are able to scale up or down on-demand, providing the flexibility to successfully tackle a variety of projects.

Consider this scenario: in your organisation a project is on the horizon which will necessitate an influx of hardware. Here, the IT department must channel resources into sourcing and purchasing. However, if the organisation had a vendor-partner, they could simply lease any additional devices that are required, and upon completion of the project the vendor withdraws the extra devices with minimum fuss.

This scenario brings to the fore another advantage: rather than continuing to use ageing technology in an effort to save costs, old devices are substituted for fresh replacements meaning users can work with the latest technology. Employee experience is improved, meeting the demand for the latest technology and empowering staff to maximise their work-potential.

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New models of PC management may also include cloud provisioning. Unified endpoint management (UEM) helps IT departments eliminate heavy overheads associated with integrating operating systems and machines. Instead, the cloud can configure devices, helping to streamline management practices and unlock new employee experience use cases.

However, PCaaS may not be necessary for every business. Despite UEM, cloud computing is carving a divergent path to PCaaS, with critics claiming the service clings onto hardware which soon may become obsolete. Business size must also be considered. It may be uneconomical for small enterprises to apportion such resources towards a service (you must walk before you can run). Additionally, it is common within startup culture to work on personal devices.

Getting started with PCaaS

Two female employees examining and analysing the growth rate of investment.

Businesses that are currently in the process of digital transformation should be especially aware of the value of time, as well as the importance of investing in workforce experience in order to drive growth.

However, before jumping into the process, it’s helpful to undergo a rigorous return on investment assessment in order to determine the potential costs of PCaaS. Enterprises should take into account that the model has an impact not only on the devices themselves but also other parts of PC lifecycle management. Therefore, although it might sound daunting, it’s necessary to delve into the process of expenditure as well as identifying a business’ needs.

In order to ascertain the transparency of the process as well as showcase the real merit of PCaaS, it is important to align the prime concerns and goals of both the business and its IT. Although some might see the process as a significant step forwards, others may identify it simply as potential workflow disruption. This is why the switch to PCaaS, and all its benefits, should be comprehensively outlined to all members of staff, setting aside time to answer all questions and doubts. 

Last but not least, businesses should be aware of the value of PCaaS in order to ensure that they are not being overcharged. Dedicate time to thorough research and always read the fine print. Although the idea of shiny new technology is always tempting, its value is only determined by how well it benefits the business.

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