Despite greater pressure than ever on CIOs to demonstrate the positive impact of technology on the bottom-line, over half of technology buyers expect no increase to their budgets this year, according to SpiceWorks, writes Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations, dynabook Northern Europe.
Those who are lucky enough to receive a greater budget may be expected to invest in emerging workplace technologies such as AI, edge computing and cloud solutions. Yet hardware – and specifically laptops – remain an integral part of any IT strategy as organisations seek to arm their employees with mobile, secure and productive devices which meet the requirements of today’s worker.
Turning Challenge into Opportunity
IT teams are expected to deliver such devices while simultaneously being more sustainable and economical in managing IT resources. Yet this challenge can be turned into an opportunity by thinking differently when refreshing hardware. Rather than choosing devices based on initial cost versus capabilities, organisations should instead consider how they fit in with the broader network and what partners can do to support cost management – from device planning through to end-of-life. Crucial in achieving this is the PC as a Service (PCaaS) model, which is focused on making device lifecycle management more straightforward.
Following an OPEX model, PCaaS comprises paying a monthly rate for a package of vendor services. Prior to engaging with this model, it is crucial to assess what employees require from devices as well as to then set goals around what the device lifecycle management project should achieve – be it cost savings or freeing up time for the IT department, for example. Once objectives are set and the models have been chosen, how they are configured can be a major challenge for businesses. Much needs to be done before a device is ready to be deployed. During this stage, investing in packages which include configuration services can drive real value, with device setup completed prior to arrival at the organisation. At this stage, the fleet can also be adapted to the specific network and security requirements of the business via pre-set BIOS settings. With devices arriving deployment-ready, it not only alleviates pressure on the IT team, but also enables peace of mind.
Ready to Go
Just as device configuration is a concern, so too is deployment. All too often it can be a time-consuming and complex process which can disrupt operations. However, a smoother deployment can be supported by leaning on vendor packages which comprise deployment services. On-site installation can be carried out by trained technicians, who can dismantle older devices, migrate data and set up new models, among other services – removing concerns around disruption and freeing up more valuable time for the internal IT team.
Once devices are configured and deployed, they must be managed and maintained. Device downtime is a serious issue in today’s ultra-mobile professional world. On-demand support services should be sought for flexibility, convenience, speed and cost efficiency. Prime examples of this are packages which offer on-site repairs or device swap services – with a replacement being provided the next working day, or by pick up and return. Better still is a centralised portal which enables businesses to manage and track their assets in order to sustain high-quality performance, assessing technical information and tracking support requests in real-time.
Another crucial business consideration is security. In the rare event of a cyber-attack, accidental device reformatting, or physical damage, valuable corporate data can be lost – inflicting costs and reputational damage on a company. As such, a robust data recovery service is invaluable, encompassing data restoration, remote wiping in the case of lost or stolen units, and replacement hard drives.
The End of the Road
When a device has become obsolete, it’s important that it is retired in a sustainable and eco-friendly fashion to stay compliant. Moreover, disposal should be conducted securely to protect sensitive corporate data. When looking at a vendor offering, it’s important that they guarantee old IT equipment will be disposed of both sustainably and securely.
Device lifecycle management can support a business in driving costs down, improving security, enhancing sustainable practices and increasing employee productivity. It’s easy to commoditise the buying of devices, and the process can often be underestimated. Leveraging device lifecycle management, as part of a PCaaS driven IT strategy, can ensure IT contributes to supporting business goals. By considering lifetime, rather than initial, cost, organisations can ensure devices efficiently and cost-effectively achieve their potential, while employees can be safe in the knowledge that the support they need is always there.