Information for Business from Lenovo
Performance + Productivity
Contributor: Samyukta Raman
Is PC-as-a-Service a viable cost model for businesses?

With cost being a major pressing pain point for many organisations, PCaaS looks like a positive development as it is designed to make IT costs more manageable and flexible.

PCs have long been a dominant fixed asset for companies and the backbone of all business activities. However, the past four years have seen worldwide PC shipments decline. PC shipments are set to wane by more than 7 per cent year over year in 2016, according to a IDC study. One reason for this drop in demand has been the immense financial pressure companies have been experiencing on their bottom lines when it comes to the heavy capital outlays required for PC purchases and repairs.

From just a machine to a full service

One way to overcome the cost pressures that come with purchasing a fleet of PCs and the associated maintenance costs is through PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS). As the name suggests, PCaaS is a service that offers PCs and devices to organisations for a monthly fixed fee. This service includes configuration, deployment, asset management, and eventual end-of-life recycling of the device. A March 2016 IDC survey conducted earlier this year on IT decision-makers revealed that 40.2 per cent had engaged in PCaaS or were considering doing so in the next 12 months.

So what makes PCaaS appealing to organisations?

The shift from capex to opex

The biggest winner for organisations looking to adopt PCaaS is to convert their PC purchase from a capital expenditure (capex) into an operating expenditure (opex). By using a monthly fee platform, companies are saved from the pain of having to block huge chunks of their budget for upfront PC purchases. This helps to loosen up liquidity, which in turn can be channelled towards initiatives that are likely to contribute to higher profits and business revenues for the company. A fixed monthly outflow offers consistency and predictability to a company’s costs, unlike a model that demands a one-off upfront payment and additional future payments that cannot be easily predetermined.

Optimal maintenance costing and servicing

The beauty of the PCaaS model is that its fixed monthly payout not only factors in the upfront hardware cost of a PC, but also builds the subsequent maintenance costs into its pricing. The vendor takes on the PC maintenance responsibility throughout the period, assuming that the life cycle of the device is 36 months. This way, organisations need not worry about budgeting for ad-hoc maintenance and repair costs that would usually arise over a long time with usage. Through this model, PCs get updated and upgraded with the latest software on a timely basis at a far more reasonable cost. This ensures heightened operational efficiency for the organisation.

Replacing the old with the new

The significant capital expenditure associated with procuring new PCs has made many companies, especially budget-constrained ones, delay new purchases. They continue keeping old PCs that have far exceeded their life cycle, thereby raising data security concerns and generating high repair costs. These costs can sometimes equal or exceed the price of new PCs.

In the case of the PCaaS model, once the PC has aged, organisations can afford to replace it with the latest device with better quality features and at a more reasonable price from the vendor. By having the ability to procure devices that are more likely to be used by the employees, companies don’t necessarily need to adopt a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program and the potential security breaches that come along with BYOD.

Disposal of old devices with company-sensitive data is often a common challenge faced by many organisations. In the case of PCaaS, the provider can ensure that the PCs are not only collected and expertly wiped of all company data, but that the organisation also gets a scrap value for the hardware.

Reduced workload for IT staff, more productive workers

The PCaaS model takes care of the configuration, deployment, onshore support, break/fix, and complete asset management of the device. By outsourcing these activities to a third party, the IT staff of a company are relieved of the responsibility of day-to-day management issues and other related service tasks. They can instead focus their resources and expertise on more strategic business functions. This not only alleviates workloads on IT, but also enables other workers to be more productive. An Intel Small Business PC Refresh Study found that workers can lose more than one week of time per year due to working with an older PC.  

Real-time asset management

PC suppliers are using sophisticated tools to carry out efficient asset management for their PCaaS customers. Some providers offer software that will continuously observe in real time how PCs are deployed and used. This software will help to determine which computer functions are being used the most and which are getting underused. Based on this, providers can offer PC assets that best match employee workloads and thereby reduce the overall costs for a company. Employees will get to enjoy enhanced productivity, as there will be sufficient processing power and data storage capacity in their PCs.

Advanced analytics is also being increasingly used by providers to predict and prevent potential hardware failures. For instance, an alert can be sent to change the battery well before the PC battery runs out.

Ability to flex up and down

With the PCaaS model, companies get the flexibility of using just the right amount of PC equipment to carry out their business operations. If an organisation is expanding, it can easily scale up its operations by requesting additional devices.

On the other hand, if a company decides to scale down its operations because of seasonal changes or trimming down of staff, the provider can take back the devices that are not being used by the company, and in turn redeploy them to another client. With this type of flexibility, companies are able to justify the usage of their PCs against their costs.

What the future holds

Although the PCaaS concept is still in its early stages, with cost being a major pressing pain point for many organisations, PCaaS looks like a positive development as it is designed to make IT costs more manageable and flexible. With PCaaS a viable cost model, businesses don't have to compromise on quality, security and flexibility with their devices.

Lenovo® ThinkPad® and ThinkCentre® products, powered by Intel® processors, are optimised for long, worry-free hours of superior productivity. Speak with a Lenovo business specialist today to learn more about how your business can take advantage of the latest Think solutions under a PCaaS model from Lenovo.

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