Workplace as a Service: The subscription for the IT workplace
PCs and notebooks, including the operating system and the required applications, are part of the standard equipment of almost every office workstation. Companies and organizations not only have to invest financial resources, but also invest time and personnel in order to ensure the productivity of their employees.
The IT equipment not only affects productivity, but also directly affects the satisfaction of the workforce. The situation was exacerbated by the corona pandemic. Many employees complain about insufficient equipment in the home office. According to a survey by the Statista Research Department from autumn 2020, 45 percent of the employed people surveyed had to provide at least some of the IT equipment themselves. In addition, it is rather rare for employers to offer their employees training on how to work from home.
The deficits in the education system are particularly striking. Not only the inadequate IT infrastructure in general, but also the personal equipment of teachers and students in particular have led to considerable frustration in schools.
Workplace-as-a-Service (WaaS) concepts can help here, and not only in the office and at educational institutions, but also in the home office. There is no standard answer as to what should be part of a WaaS offer. The basic consensus, however, is that this includes hardware, software and service based on a rental model with fixed monthly costs per workstation.
However, many WaaS models contain much more: “A good WaaS concept should map the entire technology cycle,” demands Benjamin Rissing, Leasing & Financing Specialist at Tech Data. Among other things, he names the delivery, installation, support during the period of use, collection at the end of the term with data deletion and further use of the devices, as well as setting up the new workplace with current products and guarantees.
The willingness of customers to equip their employees under a WaaS contract is growing: “Subscription models are already known to end customers from many areas,” says Robert Granich, Deputy Chief Customer Officer at Also. Santosh Wadwa, Head of Product Channel Sales Central Europe at Fujitsu, has registered a “massive boost” for modern workplace solutions and mobile working as a result of the pandemic. “In this context, companies are now also dealing more intensively with modern workplace concepts, which our partners and we have noticed not only in the increased demand for mobile devices, but also for digital workplace services and equity-saving financing concepts,” he reports. “With WaaS, user companies save the operation of the solution and thus the effort. Your IT departments can dedicate their capacities to more important topics,” explains Wolfgang Jung, Executive Director Core Solutions & Purchasing at Ingram Micro. “The user has the advantage that he is always technologically up-to-date, does not have to take out any expensive extended warranty and does not have to worry about recycling the old devices at the end of the term,” adds Benjamin Rissing from Tech Data.
On the distribution side, all of the three large broadliners have WaaS offers in their portfolio. Many system houses have put together their own models, but smaller houses in particular can fall back on the services of the distributors and enrich them with their own, customer-specific services. Distribution’s expertise also helps with financing. “We see our task in making the WaaS business as simple as possible, reducing complexity and automating the merchandise management and financial processes as much as possible so that the partner can integrate the attractive WaaS offer into their day-to-day business with little effort can “, so-expert Granich describes the procedure.
Another advantage of the broadliner is the diverse business relationships with manufacturers and solution providers as well as with financing specialists. “In addition to support in the selection of products and their provision through suitable services, the distributor should also offer support throughout the IT lifecycle,” emphasizes Ingram manager Jung. In cooperation with selected financial service providers, the distributor can also work out the right financing solution.
“Financial service providers sometimes play the most important role in as-a-service models because they bear the credit risk,” says tech data leasing specialist Rissing. If the specialist dealer writes the monthly bills to the customer, it can happen that in the event of insolvency, the bills will no longer be paid. “In order to avoid the risk of credit risk, financial service providers are involved as a third party,” he explains. The end customer then pays the monthly installments to the financial service provider, while the specialist dealer can invoice the financier for his entire sales price in advance.
Santosh Wadwa also confirms the importance of financing from a manufacturer’s point of view. “Since one of the reasons for WaaS is the renouncement of high initial investments and the distribution of the expenses over the entire contract period, appropriate financing models play an important role here”, knows the Fujitsu sales manager. However, he doubts that additional external financial service providers are absolutely necessary. “In order to enable our customers and partners to take advantage of such advantages, regardless of WaaS, Fujitsu already offers appropriate financing models,” he says.
Despite all the advantages, there are also reservations on the customer side. “The classic cash purchase is still anchored in many minds,” says Benjamin Rissing from Tech Data. No thought is given to the advantages of as-a-service models. Here he sees the dealers’ duty to point out the “clear advantages” when talking to customers.
Santosh Wadwa identified another reason: “Especially in Germany, companies are still comparatively reluctant to outsource core areas of their IT to external service providers,” he explains. They fear unauthorized data access and the dependence on the respective provider. Wadwa is reminiscent of the cloud debate from a few years ago. “It is therefore crucial for customers to choose a suitably qualified and trustworthy partner,” he sums up.
But there is still persuasion and education work to be done with resellers. In addition, the offer of the distributors has to be right: “If you offer WaaS without automated processes for preparing offers, generating contracts, billing and logistics, partners quickly lose interest”, is the experience of the Granich expert.
Even if some customers and dealers are still reluctant, WaaS concepts are being asked more and more frequently, the experts agree on this. Due to the increasing demand for the subscription for the IT workstation, system houses will also expand their WaaS range. Granich rates the growth potential as “very high”. He sees this in the Device-as-a-Service segment, among other things, which at So has grown by 50 percent year-on-year. An increase is also expected at Ingram Micro: “We expect the demand for WaaS to rise steadily and become more professional due to the increase in home offices,” says Executive Director Jung.
According to tech data manager Rissing, “the as-a-service concept will become more and more popular”. For Rissing, this development is not limited to the IT industry. In this way, other industries also contribute to acceptance. “We are already seeing a wide variety of as-a-service models,” he describes the market situation and cites car subscriptions, car sharing and Netflix as examples.
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