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

Managing the day-to-day burden of PC lifecycle management can leave IT departments with little time to focus on innovation and strategic priorities. In response, many IT leaders are turning towards PC as a service (PCaaS) as a catalyst for digital transformation, the means that permits the smooth offloading and embracing of new technologies.

But what exactly is PCaaS?

PC as a service: a background

PCaaS (otherwise known as device as a service) is a model that simplifies PC lifecycle management by combining hardware, software, lifecycle services and financing into a one-pane setup. With this, companies can unlock new opportunities to improve workforce experience, one of the fundamental ways in which CIOs help their companies transform digitally to better win, serve and retain customers, driving the business forward.

Vendors offer a monthly subscription service, with each package varying to a degree. Larger technology partners such as Dell may be able to offer a more comprehensive service, including 24-hour technology support and the assignment of a Services Delivery Manager to act as a single point of contact for the duration of the partnership.

Though packages do slightly differ, five fundamental pillars can be 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?

The beauty of PCaaS is in the simplicity it provides. It mitigates costs by bundling all technology 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.

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 PC as a service

For organisations undergoing digital transformations however, there is no time to lose. Now is the time to invest in workforce experience to drive growth.

To get started, the first logical step would be to undergo a rigorous return on investment assessment in order to determine pricing. PCaaS affects not only the devices themselves, but all aspects of PC lifecycle management. Pricing models must be examined, with more and newer devices leading to increased expenditure. Business needs must be identified.

Ensure the process is transparent through aligning business and IT priorities. This way, business leaders will be aware of the true value of PCaaS. For many, changing devices is a red flag for workflow disruption. The value of any change must be clearly communicated to employees, settling grievances and allowing for optimised usage.

Lastly, keep an eye on the business value of PCaaS to avoid overpaying. Research is a must, fine-print must be scrutinised. The magpies innate within us must resist the aesthetic temptation of shiny new technology, and only invest if business value is added.

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