HP Inc. customers that want the newest shiny laptop or tablet no longer have to go out and buy it, or even bother managing it, as the vendor is introducing a new Device-as-a-Service offering.
A year after HP piloted the program in the Asia-Pacific region, it is being billed as a complete device lifecycle management service that offers its customers flexibility. On a single bill, customers can count on HP to procure required devices, deploy them, and support them. IT administrators get a web-accessed dashboard that tracks the location, health, and performance of devices deployed on the service, and a smart analytics feature is used to anticipate when hardware will need service before it breaks down.
Device-as-a-Service was inspired after HP has found a lot of success with its Managed Print Service, says Bill Avey, general manager and global head of PS services at HP.
“That’s a business we’ve been very successful in for the last 15 years,” he said. “A lot of customers value our ability to be able to provide that as a service.”
And it was demand from customers that brought HP down the road leading to this service, with some specific customers already arranging contracts on an ad-hoc basis. For example, Siemens Brazil is already using HP for a full-blown outsourcing solution for its hardware. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a cafe chain that’s outfitting its restaurants with an electronic cash register supplied and managed by HP. In total, there’s customers in 20 countries around the world already doing this, Avey says.
The service, management, and support aspect of the new service need not come attached to the device subscriptions either. HP says if a customer wants to buy their hardware and then pay for the management service portion on a monthly basis, that’s no problem.
The service is also in response to IT managers struggling to keep tabs on their hardware ecosystem, Avey says. Many admins don’t know what devices are in their ecosystem, or if they’re meeting the needs of their users. So with this service, they get complete analytics about an entire fleet on a single dashboard (it’s mobile friendly too). “IT gets a very clear cost structure from this,” he says.
The analytics can also detect PC health problems, potentially before a user notices anything amiss. For example, the service will detect when battery life is becoming shorter and mail the PC user a new battery before they’re required to stay tethered to an outlet.
Channel partners of HP will also be able to offer Device as a Service, Avey says. “We’re choosing to do the hard work of working with partners from day one.
“We’re working with our channel partners to define exactly what our programs will look like,” he says. But partners that do sign on can expect that they’ll have access to a single management portal with all their customer information.
Because the service is so variable based on customer requirements, HP didn’t offer any pricing for the new service, beyond saying it was on a per-user, per-month basis. Avey says the service is best-suited to a firm with at least 300 devices. Less than that, and businesses should be looking to HP Subscription instead.
NO PANIC COMPUTING
Notebook-as-a-Service was conceptualized by Canadian IT entrepreneur Larry Keating back in 2008. Keating developed notebook-as-a-service and at the time it was lauded as an innovative approach to managing hardware assets.
In 2012, Keating, the president of No Panic Computing (NPC) as well as his Markham, Ont.-based manufacturer’s representative firm Keating Technologies, switched gears and put the focus on security for his notebook-as-a-service business.