The ‘Real Asset’ Conundrum
In the 21st Century, Enterprises have come to realize that the only asset they should keep on their books, acquire, maintain and train over life is the “Employee”.
We have been a witness to how the digital workplace trends are disrupting traditional business models. It is now an established understanding that the most significant source of competitive advantage for all businesses will come from their workforce's ability to creatively exploit the digital tools or technologies.
No matter what industry you are in, it all boils down to how well your employees leverage the digital tools to be their productive best, collaborate across teams and create a real differentiation for the business. It could be an efficient design, a robust algorithm, or an innovative app. All of this requires another asset, non-sentient yet intelligent, but still very crucial for employees to create value –The Device
The User Experience Mix
While each organization is striving to deliver consumer grade experience to maximize user productivity, the fundamental question is what really impacts a good user experience in a workplace.
Well, it’s a combination of ‘persona sensitive services’, powered by Products/IPs that minimize downtime and contextualize support and the quality of device provisioned to be productive from any place they would want to work from. You take any one of these out and the user experience graph rapidly moves south.
A perfect mix of consumer capable devices and a great set of product powered intuitive services is highly desirable; however, delivering this remains a challenge for most enterprises.
In the 2016 Gartner CIO Survey, when asked what are some of the biggest barriers to achieving business objectives in a workplace as a CIO, it was found that skills/resources and funding/budgets ranked higher in the list over challenges like IT-business alignment.
The Vintage Response
The enterprise approach to tide over the mentioned issues in the previous section could mainly be categorized as the strategy to “source separate”. This meant while the workplace services were outsourced to the IT service providers, the workplace asset contracts went to OEM and hardware manufacturers. But this had some apparent roadblocks of having multiple contracts, various invoices for numerous billing units.
But most importantly, since the constituents of user experience were broken down and distributed across multiple service providers, so was the experience. In fact, no singular entity could be held accountable and responsible for an overall user experience.
The funding and budget issues that arose due to business expansion (or for that matter contraction) were addressed using essentially two strategies:
- Sweat IT: In this approach, an organization deferred the refresh of devices to save cost. This came at the expense of ability to stay current with technology that also meant poor user productivity and inherent security risks. In fact, attacks like Petya and WannaCry ensured that this approach lost support real quick in organizations.
- Lease IT: Organizations worked with OEM’s financial division or other financial institutions to convert the ‘asset investment’ into ‘staggered pay outs’ on an OPEX model, while this addressed upfront funding but other teething issues stayed. For instance,
- Leasing does not automatically include asset lifecycle management, or a ‘technology refresh’ option. It is an agreement with a predetermined end-of-lease life.
- Neither did it by default include managing of the equipment return process. Most businesses do not have enough staffing or expertise in preparing the device for return at the end of the lease term.
What the 21st Century Enterprises need
The pressure to transform IT to support new business initiatives, with limited or no increase in internal staffing and budget has given incentive for enterprises to look at alternative models. To emphasize, this is nothing new for most large organizations, as they have already tested the waters with managed print service contracts, where assets, spares, services and IPs came at predictable per unit cost.
It is about time that this simplification of such offerings, flexibility in volumes and predictability in cost, transcends the entire gamut of a workplace.
HCL FlexSpace, in partnership with Dell, the Industry best PC as a service provider, delivers Experience as a service (EaaS), where we bring to our customers the best of devices, the best of services powered by world class product IPs on automation (OptiBot), Real time analytics (WorkBlaze) and consumer comparable experience (IntelliZone) on an OPEX model.
The service provisioned on a subscription model is a catalogued offering, with in-built flexibility to scale up or down as per the business need, and it takes into consideration both the existent enterprise user personas and prevalent site support models,
The offering powered by our Kaleidoscope Assessment of business personas and site categorization helps organizations choose the right blocks from the service catalogue (a mix of devices, management, deployment and support) and choose a model that fits the contours of their enterprise needs.
The Road Ahead
As businesses transform to become more focused on digital workplace and realise that the key value creating asset is the user, the traditional segregated model for acquisition, support, value and experience delivery is poised for a change. A digital company with digital tools and digital workplace solutions is the milestone to be achieved via an effective digital workplace strategy.
As businesses transform to become more focused on digital workplace and realise that the key value creating asset is the user, the traditional segregated model for acquisition, support, value and experience delivery is poised for a change.
A to-be digital company will look for a provider that can partner with them and help establish a model, very specific to their needs where the goals of the flexibility of volumes, the predictability of per seat cost and cost savings aren’t at odds with the goals of delivering ‘Experience as a service’.
Considering the fact that uptake of such initiatives to provision a digital workplace is less than 2% of the enterprise market, we are on the verge of a storm that will fundamentally change the way digital workplace services are consumed.