Hewlett Packard have announced a new type of service called DaaS, or Device-as-a-Service, based on which for a fixed regular fee, enterprises could use PCs and printers. Makes sense to me, but what part of this service is actually new? Allowing others to use property is known for centuries under different names: renting, leasing, etc. There are many legal forms and the difference is usually in the approach to ownership.

Ownership in most cases comes with costs and responsibilities which enterprises but also end users are better off ceding to others, who specialize in the matter and are able to implement optimizations to make the business profitable. Most times the issue is with cash flow, the possibility to spread a large expense over time. A good example are enterprise class printing multi-functional devices. They are big, complex and expensive, yet every medium to large firm needs at least one to function today. What made that possible was the multiple capex and opex options of contracting. Another example are mobile phones added by vendors to call plan contracts, nothing unusual.

So what is different now? I have read many comments about HP simply trying to hook up to the catchy “X-as-a-Service” buzz word. I think it is undeniable that whoever launches a business line based on anything they can call “as-a-Service” is making a good commercial for themselves these days. Nevertheless, isn’t there a major gap on the market for something that seems to make perfect sense? In most enterprises now, every employee is a user of the IT infrastructure and is very likely to be equipped with some end point device. These devices, multiplied by the number of employees (assuming 1:1 ratio) continue to be a major cost. And that again, multiplied by whatever is defined in the technology lifecycle management policy of the company they work in. Given the above, why aren’t most enterprises moving towards a (ok, I’ll bite…) DaaS model for PCs? Perhaps it is not a well known option and the buzz word approach has the chance to change that? If that works, HP are going to be very profitable, as well as all their partners who are going to offer this as a local service.

Nevertheless there’s something that seems missing. I read the articles and well, they all mention enterprises. Why the limitation? Not long ago I equipped my parents with a Linux PC, ending an era of dealing with performance issues and virus infections on their home PC. While it didn’t take much time to prepare, I’ll probably need to do some upgrades once the new HD, 4K or other fancy buzzword kicks in. If I had the possibility to sign a good desktop support service for non-tech savvy relatives, I’d probably go for it (or let them do it by pointing them at the offer). A colleague recently made a good comment I could not agree with more: the world has more and more technology users and fewer and fewer of those who actually understand the technology and are able to repair it when required – similarly to car drivers and those who understand what happens under the hood. The answer is moving to shared services – an approach enterprises are already adopting. I presume, households will follow soon. I will also add this to my list of business ideas 😉