From small businesses to large corporations, through every industry sector, IT professionals have been among the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 era. At a time when change was already happening at the fastest pace we’ve seen, there came a sudden imperative to completely transform service delivery – overnight. If organisations didn’t fully appreciate the value of their IT teams before, they surely should by now.
Many working in IT may feel like they have barely had the chance to draw breath, but device volume and complexity is not slowing down, quite the opposite. Nearly every IT manager I meet wants to offload day-to-day fleet management so they can get to more important stuff. Device as a service (DaaS) has been around since 2015, but technology advances in device provisioning, combined with rapid changes in workplace habits, has now moved to the forefront. Easing the load of IT teams is far from the only reason.
The way we buy all manner of products has changed over the past decade. Streaming services, ride sharing apps and cloud services are often touted as the ‘subscription economy’. Subscription models, already gaining in popularity before the pandemic, have really gathered pace in the past 18 months. For organisations, a big part of the attraction is swapping out monolithic blocks of capital expenditures (CAPEX) for predictable monthly bills – operational expenditure (OPEX). This shift from CAPEX to OPEX reflects a desire to escape the financial rollercoaster ride of the traditional IT acquisition cycle and release cashflow to other initiatives. It also means skilled IT resources spend less time on the paperwork that accompanies CAPEX, instead signing off on routine invoices to the accounts department for payment.
Global events of the past 18 months have rapidly accelerated digitalisiation. The virtual overnight transition to remote working exposed the unsuitability of many end user compute (EUC) devices. Organisations clamoured for devices and accessories to enable their employees to safely work from home. At the same time, manufacturing and supply was heavily disrupted. The uptick in remote working wasn’t, and isn’t, the only factor at play. The huge growth of all types of connected devices, from smart fridges, cars and aircons, to endless phones and tablets created an ongoing global chip shortage. We are currently seeing some manufacturers quote lead times of more than four months for new stock.
This means organisations need to take a more strategic approach to device acquisition or face increased security risks from stretching outdated hardware lifecycles, or even delaying new business initiatives. While holding stock is not necessarily typical of all DaaS offerings, at Data#3 we recognise the need to use our warehouses, based in all major capitals across Australia, to procure in advance and make sure our customers are buffered against supply delays. In fact, when one customer recently needed devices urgently, we were able to supply them on the same afternoon.
Global supply issues aside, there’s another challenge that businesses face in getting devices to people. Those people may not be able to attend the office in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, but the necessary settings, apps, and policies must still be applied. Not only can Data#3 DaaS customers capitalise on stock-on-hand, instead of seeking vendors with the shortest delays, they also benefit from a zero-touch deployment. Without IT laying a finger on the device, it can be set up and delivered directly to the user’s door. One more time-consuming task your IT team will not miss.
Has the sudden shift to remote working, and the rush to get devices to users, come at the expense of security? You are not alone. A recent HP Wolf survey found that more than three quarters (76%) of IT teams reported that business continuity took precedence over security during the pandemic, with a worrying 91% feeling pressured to compromise security1 if it aided business continuity. Outside the relatively controlled office environment, endpoint security is more important than ever. The situation catches IT teams between the rock and hard place of supply problems and need for modern, appropriately secured devices.
Cast this in an environment where cyberattacks have increased monumentally. 67,500 cybercrime reports were made in Australia in the last financial year2, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Vendors such as HP and Microsoft Surface have released a new generation of devices designed for the hybrid work environment, with a wealth of new security features ranging from webcam privacy features to AI-driven threat intelligence. The role of DaaS isn’t just to get these better-suited devices into users’ hands, but also to manage ongoing security needs, unobtrusively loading updates and applying security patches promptly, and remotely.
Asset management and device lifecycle must also be considered in terms of security. While not all DaaS services attend fully to these factors, they are incredibly important. With our own DaaS service, asset information, including location, is available through our portal. As a device changes hands, or reaches end of life, this is recorded accurately. Whether driven by changing needs, or routine retirement of a device, the Data#3 DaaS service handles collection, data removal, and environmentally conscious disposal. Your sensitive data is not compromised.
Calculating the cost of device ownership, including support and management needs, can be enlightening. A 2020 study by IT research firm Techaisle found that deployment, maintenance and support takes up 77% of SME IT staff time3, leaving only 23% of time for transformation or innovation related activities. A DaaS solution doesn’t only avoid the impact of large capital expenditure when refreshing devices, it also stops your highly skilled IT staff from spending a lot of time on administration and repetitive, manual, device-related activities. In the post-pandemic world, your business has more important ways for your unsung IT heroes to spend their time.
From my conversations with customers, it’s clear that it’s challenging to compare the plethora of device management solutions from vendors and integrators. What makes Data#3’s DaaS different? The short answer – it’s the most comprehensive. As one of Australia’s largest and most experienced systems integrators we offer a completely customisable and scalable lifecycle management solution spanning procurement to deployment, support and decommissioning, where you can select from a device catalogue including all leading vendors’ devices and accessories – including tablets, printers and phones. Make no mistake – DaaS is the future of device management.
Data#3 brings together decades of experience across a broad range of services to complement your DaaS solution, such as software licensing, managed print solutions and advisory services to leverage the cloud. Get in touch to understand the many Data#3 DaaS options available and request an end user computing assessment to begin your journey towards modern device management.
1. HP Wolf Security(2021), Rebellions and Rejections Report
2. ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21
3. Techaisle Research (2020)
Tags: Dell, Device as a Service (DaaS), Device Fulfilment, Device Management, Device Security, Devices, End-User Computing (EUC), HP, Lenovo, Microsoft Surface, Modern Desktop Management, Modern Workplace, Procurement