PC as a service (PCaaS)

PC as a service (PCaaS) is a device lifecycle management model in which an organization pays a monthly subscription fee to lease endpoint hardware and management services from a vendor.

The goal of PC as a service, also called device as a service, is to make PC lifecycle management, including purchasing, managing, retiring and refreshing PCs and other endpoint devices, simpler. PCaaS follows an Opex model in which an organization pays a monthly rate for the use of a vendor's devices and services. This saves IT on the costs of purchasing hardware for users to work with.

In terms of devices, PCaaS can encompass everything from mobile devices to desktop PCs. The services can include configuration, help desk support, data backup and recovery, and asset management. It can also include predictive analytics that can help combat hardware failures and security policy violations. It boosts security further by inventorying devices as well as tracking their locations and status.

device as a service
Device as a service process

With most device as a service models, IT can pick the maintenance contract that best fits its needs. The contract can range from a fully managed arrangement where the vendor controls everything to a hybrid approach where the internal IT department manages some aspects of the device deployment.

What attracts IT to PCaaS

PC as a service can help organizations easily scale up or down. If IT needs to add more PCs for a specific period of time, for example, they can lease more devices in a specific month than they do in another month. In addition, if an organization cuts its number of workers, it can simply reduce the number of devices it leases from the vendor rather than being left with a surplus of devices it doesn't need.

It also helps keep users working with the latest technology because IT can sub out older devices rather than holding onto aging devices to save money.

With PCaaS, PC lifecycle management shifts almost completely to the vendor. As a result, IT can offload much of the management that goes along with endpoint devices, including device disposal, so it can focus on more strategic ventures.

Top vendors

Dell, HP Inc., Lenovo and Bizbang are among the vendors in the PCaaS market. HP Inc. refers to its PCaaS as Device as a Service.

PCaaS vendors all offer slightly different packages. Dell, for example, assigns a Services Delivery Manager to each customer who serves as their direct contact for any issues that might arise.

Microsoft offers its own derivative of PC as a service called Surface as a Service in which the company leases Microsoft Surface tablets to organizations.

This was last updated in July 2018

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