Nick Offin

The channel opportunities of PC lifecycle management

Nick Offin, Head of Sales, Marketing and Operations at dynabook Northern Europe, looks at how lifecycle management of the device fleet is becoming even more important, and what revenue opportunities this opens up for resellers.

Organisations today are continually looking to mobilise their workforces and equip employees with secure and productive devices. Yet at the same time, over half of technology buyers expect no increase to their budgets this year. So, while CIOs face increasing pressure to demonstrate the positive impact of technology on the bottom line, they also need to stretch budgets further and demonstrate greater sustainability within the IT department.

Furthermore, any additional budget will most likely be invested in emerging workplace technologies, leaving little resource for new devices. As a result, lifecycle management of the device fleet is becoming even more important.

For resellers, incorporating this as part of their offering can open up a plethora of new revenue opportunities.

Channel partners need to consider how devices fit in with customers’ broader networks over the long term, and what they can do to support cost management – from device planning through to end-of-life. The PC as a Service (PCaaS) model, which is focused on making device lifecycle management more straightforward, offers a crucial means of fulfilling these long-term needs. For channel partners, partnering with vendors who offer such services enables them to deliver a more attractive package to customers, while leaning on the vendor to deliver the ongoing support required.

PCaaS involves paying a monthly rate for a package of device production, configuration and management services. Prior to engaging with this model, it is crucial to assess what a customer’s employees require from devices, and to then set goals around what the device lifecycle management project should achieve. Once objectives are set with the customer and the models have been chosen, how they are configured can be a major challenge for businesses.

Delivering ready-to-run devices

Much needs to be done before a device is ready to be deployed. The device preparation stage offers resellers a prime opportunity to add value, by offering consultancy and configuration services. At this stage, the fleet can also be adapted to the specific network and security requirements of the business via pre-set BIOS settings. Offering devices which are deployment-ready enables peace of mind for the customer and alleviates pressure on the IT team. Device deployment is also a concern. All too often it can be a time-consuming and complex process. Resellers can support businesses by offering packages that include deployment services. This could include on-site installation carried out by trained vendor technicians, who can dismantle older devices, migrate data and set up new models. This removes concerns around disruption and frees time for internal IT teams.

Long-term support

Device downtime is a serious issue in today’s professional world – so once devices are configured and deployed, they must be managed and maintained. For flexibility, convenience, speed and cost efficiency, resellers should seek to offer PCaaS, which includes on-demand support services as standard. Examples include on-site repairs or device swap services – where a replacement is provided the next working day, or by pick up and return. Better still is a centralised portal where businesses can manage and track assets, support requests and technical information in order to sustain high-quality performance.

Another crucial business consideration is security. During a cyber-attack, accidental device reformatting, or physical damage could cost businesses valuable corporate data, inflicting costs and reputational damage. A robust data recovery component is invaluable, encompassing data restoration and remote wiping in the case of lost or stolen units, and replacement hard drives. When a device has become obsolete, it’s important that it is retired in a sustainable and eco- friendly fashion.

Supporting long-term goals

By promoting a comprehensive device lifecycle management offering rather than simply selling the standalone device, resellers can support customers in driving down costs, improving security and enhancing sustainable practices. Leveraging device lifecycle management as part of a PCaaS-driven IT strategy can help IT managers maximise the value of their hardware. Resellers need to educate them on the benefits of considering lifetime value rather than initial cost, and to then provide the consultancy and support to deliver this.

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