PC as a Service (PCaaS) – A Key Tool to Boost PC Market!

On a global front, PC as a service (PCaaS) is garnering a good deal of attention lately. There are a few queries that need to be explored. For one, what exactly constitutes PC as a Service? What are the driving factors for PCaaS adoption? What is the need for this technology at this moment in time? Let’s see if we can answer some of these questions.

What is PCaaS?
PC as a Service can be defined as the combined package of hardware, software, lifecycle services and financing. This is all offered as a package from a single provider with a fixed monthly price for every employee in a particular business no matter what the size of the company is (small, medium or large enterprises). Presently, this service is evolving gradually with more options for mobility, data management and security applications being developed. There is a continuous movement towards IT and digital transformation for most enterprise users with an ever-increasing adoption of technologies such as cloud computing, analytics and social media. PCaaS offers a business model that is ideal for most enterprise companies experiencing a significant increase in their mobile workforce.

PCaaS and the Product Lifecycle
Apart from providing the latest version of devices, the PCaaS model also offers additional bundled services. This includes pre-installed all the necessary software (OS, Apps, Security, etc.) and software updates on a recurring basis. With a PCaaS model, vendors are engaging with their business customers throughout the device lifecycle allowing vendors the opportunities to provide support, maintenance and other services as and when required. To ensure that PCaaS will become the preferred business model for businesses, vendors will need to be able to offer financial assistance to these customers. To this end, many vendors are offering new initiatives to promote PCaaS in tandem with various financing organizations.

PCaaS – Added Advantage over a Traditional PC Procurement Method 

 A Win-Win Situation for All Players
Let’s look at how PCaaS is affecting the various players.

  • Vendors/OEMs
    • Due to a lower demand for PCs and their longer lifecycle, PCaaS would be an alterative business model increasing profits to PC vendors. This model would also enable PC vendors to reduce their present on hand inventories.
    • PC vendors would be able to initiate a longer engagement with enterprise customers throughout the device’s lifecycle extending their role beyond just a traditional hardware seller.
  • Reseller/Channel Partners
    • PCaaS model facilitates resellers to expand their product portfolio offerings based on the customers’ specific needs.
    • They are supported by other players in the PCaaS ecosystem for all unpredictable risks, the services offered and financial assistance.
  • Enterprise Customers
    • PCaaS alters the spending pattern from a one-time CAPEX mode to the smaller, monthly recurring operational cost.
    • Existing IT staff can be utilized in key strategic organizational IT initiatives since they would be free from the day-to-day PC management tasks. A PCaaS model also reduces the refreshment cycle.
    • With a PCaaS model, millennial/tech-savvy employees can prioritize their work with more device flexibility within an efficient IT environment.

Making a Long-Term PCaaS Model Work
To develop PCaaS as the new-age business model and enhance its popularity among enterprises, all players need to work together developing each other’s capabilities and infrastructure. The role of channel partners is vital in this endeavor since PC vendors require a wide and robust network of partners to reach out to enterprise-users with their PCaaS offerings. Also, collaboration with a software expert is required to provide regular services and solutions. All other players having capabilities in different technological areas (e.g. security, data management, cloud, mobility) are required to join the evolving PCaaS ecosystem to extend its reach and influence.

 Need of the Hour
The PCaaS adoption journey has only begun. It is likely to evolve further with a greater understanding of the ever-changing future needs of consumer PC users. Therefore, the PCaaS model has been designed to offer flexible, affordable and customized product & services offerings. At the same time, increased awareness of its value propositions, benefits and return on investments, change of mindset among potential users and innovative marketing strategies by vendors are the need of the hour to take the PCaaS model to the next phase.

Finally, the growth prospective of the PCaaS model for consumer PC users can be viewed as aligned with the mobile device market wherein vendors are offering a smartphone (the upgraded model) pre-loaded with all security, insurance, social media, brand specific software and entertainment apps with monthly payment options over the contract term. In coming years, PCaaS could evolve into a model like the mobile device market, enabling vendors to tap the PC market in small and medium business circles.

~ Arpana Bharti, Market Analyst

Facebook still looking strong despite issues

Facebook, the evolving and diversifying social media and social networking service, based in California via Harvard University’s Kirkland House Room H33, has posted its latest quarterly results. The figures bode well for the company and those at the helm are determined to have the future of social media marketing revolve around its products and services. Let’s take a look at the figures and see how the SMB space is impacted by the latest news out of Menlo Park.

A Brief Recap

In a previous entry, your intrepid blogger covered the overall usage of social sites such as Facebook (including Instagram), Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat among others. That blog highlighted the importance the SMB space places onsocial media as well as the potential Benefits and Concerns for SMBs in using these services to foster a positive social presence for a business. With only 37% of US Small Businesses actively using social media to market products and services, Continue reading “Facebook still looking strong despite issues”

Increased productivity from a second monitor?

Earlier this week, a new second monitor was delivered to the New York office of AMI-Partners. The technical specs are not that important, neither is the brand for that matter. The essential factor here is that more content can be viewed with two screens versus one. Is using a second monitor beneficial? HBBs, SMBs, and large enterprises likely have employees who can utilize a second screen, but it is a matter of preference.

Second display setup

Global Spending on Peripherals

According to AMI’s Global Market Forecast Model, worldwide spending on peripherals by the HBB and SMB markets combined will reach nearly $14B in 2016, increasing steadily to just over $15B come 2020. This forecast, of course, covers more than just spending on second displays. This total spend reflects the widespread use of peripherals across organizations and how usage will continue to grow. These devices can be seen as accessories in the business world. Necessary? Perhaps. Worthwhile? The evidence will need to be examined. Peripherals let you do more than was originally intended and move beyond the design limitations of an existing product. A separate keyboard can free you from sitting close to your screen. A mouse can make that touchy touchpad seem obsolete. A second monitor can mean a spreadsheet now displays columns A:AF and rows 1:45 at 90% zoom.

Product Development

The mobility of the modern workforce means employees are working in a variety of settings. From an individual office to a conference room and all points in-between, technology must be as portable as the user. Additionally, tablets and ultrabooks are substituting for and in some cases replacing desktops and laptops altogether. AMI’s Global Model forecasts a 48% Continue reading “Increased productivity from a second monitor?”

Tablets vs. Smartphones: What is the best mobile device for SMBs?

Small and medium businesses today are continually trying to accomplish more and more with a limited amount of time and resources. Vendors understand this constraint and have developed various project management, business intelligence, and hosted solutions that cater specifically to the needs of SMBs. One area that is vital to an SMB’s efficiency is mobility. The ability to work on the go has resulted in a boost in overall productivity and competitiveness for many companies. However, in order to realize these benefits, SMBs must provide their employees with the right devices. The overwhelming number of smart phone and tablet options on the market today makes this a difficult task. In an increasingly mobile business world, SMBs must decide what their ideal mobile device portfolio is.

The two most popular mobile devices used among SMBs are smartphones and tablets. There are pros and cons of both device types and the challenge for SMBs is understanding which one would be most beneficial for their specific business.

AMI’s Global Model forecasts spending on smartphone devices and data plans among SMBs worldwide to increase by 12% through 2018. The main advantages of using smart phones over other device types are ease  of transport while in transit or out of the office, the ability to easily make calls and send text messages, and the availability of a vast number of mobile apps designed to address the specific needs of SMBs. These applications include bookkeeping, mobile productivity suites, contact organizers and mobile email. Smartphone functionalities allow SMBs to accomplish the same tasks usually done on a traditional PC, while out of the office or in between meetings with clients. The versatility of a smart phone is its main advantage over other devices, including desktops, portables, and tablets. According to AMI’s 2012 US SMB ICT Tracking survey, smart phone penetration among US Internet SMBs is currently around 69%. If current demand continues, this percentage may increase significantly.

However, despite this versatility, many smartphones have lower processing power compared to tablets and PCs, and therefore, are unable to perform high data intensive activities. Additionally, their small screens often make large amounts of web browsing difficult.  Smartphones are not replacements for PCs, but serve as an integral piece of an SMB’s overall mobile capability.

Tablets, on the other hand, combine functionality and portability. AMI’s Global Model forecasts that from 2013-2018, spending on tablet devices and data plans among SMBs worldwide will increase twice as fast as spending on smart phones. The tablet brands that are popular among SMBs include the Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, and Apple iPad Mini. Tablets have several key benefits that make them ideal for the mobility needs of SMBs. First, the large screen and higher processing power of the tablet makes it a more functional substitute for traditional PCs for data-intensive activities, web browsing and typing. In addition, programs such as Microsoft Office, Skype Video Conferencing, and a variety of mobile apps, which are difficult to use on smart phones, can easily be used on tablets, without the transport issues associated with traditional desktops and portables. Although tablets are not as easily transported as smartphones, they allow SMBs to accomplish data intensive tasks that used to be possible only with PCs, while on the go. Tablets are ideal for SMBs that want the usability of a PC in a powerful mobile device.

Apart from portability and mobile applications, there are other considerations that SMBs must take into account when deciding on their ideal mobile device portfolio, including existing BYOD policies and mobile security. Bring Your Own Device policies vary widely between SMBs, with some companies supporting all device types and others only supporting smart phones or tablets or traditional PCs. SMBs must be clear about the types of devices supported within their BYOD policy and if they wish to expand their mobile device portfolio, these policies may need to be updated. Data security is another important aspect of an SMB’s total mobility portfolio. Mobile devices are used to access sensitive information contained in emails and in a company’s internal files, and therefore, must be protected against security breaches. SMBs must understand these security risks while expanding mobile device offerings.

In the fast-paced SMB world, mobility has become an integral aspect of any successful company. There are many different factors to consider when deciding on the best mobile device portfolio. These include the types of devices that a company is interested in, BYOD policies, and security concerns. Many SMBs choose to supply employees with smart phones for mobile needs and desktops or portables for data intensive tasks. In contrast, other SMBs may provide employees with tablets for use both inside and outside the office, and still others may offer employees both tablets and smart phones as part of their mobility suite. The ideal mobile portfolio differs from one SMB to the next. However, the productivity gain, ease of working in transit, and benefits of mobile applications, are universal and will continue to drive demand for mobile devices well into the future.

-Meenakshi Sivaraman, Associate

Transform, Connect, Inform, & Protect – 4 Mantras That Will Drive End User Computing in India

Transform, Connect, Inform, & Protect – These four words were the underlying theme in every presentation made at a recent Dell Analyst event held in Bangalore on September 26-27th, 2013. I personally found them very relevant and easy to connect with–especially in the context of mobility and BYOD (bring-your-own-device).

Making a case in point as to why the end-user computing business matters, P. Krishnakumar, Executive Director & GM – Consumer & Small Business likened the end computing devices  to the humble ‘bread’ in a sandwich – reiterating that you cannot get a great sandwich if the bread is not right. In fact, I feel, forget bread – we do not want bread anymore in new end-user computing devices, we are getting cake as Marie Antoinette herself would have desired, isn’t it?!

Continue reading “Transform, Connect, Inform, & Protect – 4 Mantras That Will Drive End User Computing in India”

Windows 8 is More Than Just an Operating System

In December 2012, AMI-Partners in Singapore launched a survey to interview 300 IT decision makers about their views on Windows 8.  These companies are from various industries and of different sizes (SMEs [small and medium enterprises] and enterprise are both included)

The survey was carried out just one month after Microsoft officially launched Windows 8, but the awareness level was already very high: 60% of the total businesses in Singapore were aware of Windows 8. 91% of the enterprises and 54% of SMEs  had heard of Windows 8. Among these companies,  almost 40% of enterprise businesses have tried Windows 8 and 22% of SMEs have done so.

Continue reading “Windows 8 is More Than Just an Operating System”

Samsung the Customer Experience

About two weeks ago, I happen to get tickets to the exclusive launch event for Samsung’s Experience Shop™ in New York City. As I was getting the tickets, there were people giving away all kinds of Samsung gear and making the event very interactive. It was interactive in that we watched demonstrations of key features of various products from the Samsung experts and then showed them how the feature works through playing with the device. Once the interaction is completed each person would get tokens that could be redeemed for a number of prizes at the event–even a Galaxy S4!

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BYOD and the India SMBs

Convenience or Chaos?  Is there a game plan in the near future?

Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is a policy that allows employees to bring their personal mobile computing devices to work places and connect them on the corporate network. Some of the many benefits of a BYOD program include: keeping employees happy as they enjoy a seamless experience with their devices, improving productivity by being available at all times for corporate tasks, and reducing costs of acquiring hardware by organizations. In fact, when I spoke of the seamless experience with BYOD, a CIO of a large manufacturing group in India, almost jumped up at the word – saying it will be the ‘mantra’ to push internally.

Continue reading “BYOD and the India SMBs”