The way we consume many technologies has shifted from buying and managing them ourselves, to ‘as-a-service’ consumption. Until now, this has largely by-passed the world of end-user computing devices, but with HP’s Device-as-a-Service I can see that rapidly changing.
It’s increasingly the norm for software to be delivered ‘from the cloud’ as-a-service. Patches and updates are applied without IT having to worry about them, and those troublesome version upgrades are becoming a thing of the past.
This also reduces the scale of, if not the need for, on premise infrastructure. For example, Microsoft Azure provides an attractive alternative to a DIY data centre – further reducing the management and support burden on IT.
Now, the same sort of approach is coming to the PC, and from what I’ve been hearing I think we’re likely to see large-scale adoption.
HP has been refining its approach for a couple of years, and with Dell and Lenovo also entering the market, this competition is likely to make for some attractive pricing.
For me, two of the defining characteristics of ‘as-a-service’ are the change from purchase to subscription (ideally combined with straightforward up or down scalability), and the saving of time and trouble for the IT team. HP’s first service iteration a couple of years ago, called ‘HP Subscription’, successfully changed the financial model, but with its second iteration (Device-as-a-Service or DaaS) it now also has real IT appeal.
For most IT teams, user support is one of their biggest headaches, and HP’s DaaS can greatly reduce this problem.
HP’ DaaS incorporates a sophisticated set of analytics and management tools. HP uses machine learning to monitor and analyse data from your hardware, such as CPU performance, thermal behaviour, and any unexpected shutdowns, as well as to keep track of potential security issues – triggering automated alerts, so pre-emptive action can be taken before your users even realise there’s an issue.
At the basic service level these alerts come to you, but at higher service levels the response and resolution will be taken care of for you. At the highest level, this includes Windows password recovery, application deployment, Wi-Fi provisioning and application whitelisting/blacklisting.
Interestingly, the analytics also provide you with usage data that will over time enable you to avoid over-specing users’ devices, to save you money.
HP has also recognised that while you want a standard approach to device provision and management, very often you don’t have a standard estate. So, it allows other manufacturers’ devices, including Apple Macs, iPads, iPhones and Android devices to form part of your DaaS service.
Customers I’ve talked to really seem to like HP’s DaaS approach, and we already have several on the verge of adoption. At Total, we’re sufficiently impressed with both the commercial and the IT management advantages to move our 120 users on to it.
I think it’s a solution whose time has come.