HP claims it is seeing "extreme" interest from its Platinum partners in device-as-a-service (DaaS), a model some analysts are tipping to account for up to one in six PCs shipped by 2020.
The PC and print vendor last week unveiled several enhancements to its DaaS scheme, which it first launched in 2016 and upgraded earlier this year.
Neil Sawyer (pictured), UK&I channel director at HP, said the vendor is working on launch plans with a range of partners, including SIs such as HCL, managed print specialists such as Xeretec, and the Platinum partners that make up the "heartbeat" of HP's channel, including Softcat, SCC, Computacenter, Total Computers and CDW.
According to IDC, the percentage of PCs shipped under a DaaS contract will rise from one in every 100 to one in every six or seven PCs between 2016 and 2020.
Microsoft added to the DaaS buzz last week when it unveiled its first managed desktop scheme and Sawyer concurred with IDC's view, saying he had "never seen so many conversations about a new method of investing in workplace technology".
HP's slant on DaaS combines hardware, services and also - crucially - its TechPulse proactive management and analytics software - into a simple per-user, per-month fee.
TechPulse, which under the improvements announced last week now offers partners a multi-customer view and integrates with ServiceNow, will enable partners to boost their profitability, Sawyer said.
"TechPulse can deliver this proactive management piece which has a huge service on-cost saving because ultimately you are proactively managing that estate of product so you avoid things that can go wrong and solve them in advance of that happening," he said.
Sawyer said the cost of a device over the lifetime of a DaaS contract - typically three or five years - "marry up quite succinctly" with a traditional capex model, making it a "very transparent and predictable" type of investment.
"I'm not exaggerating when I say I don't see any negatives [for partners] whatsoever. I say that because many, if not all, of the partners we've spoken to have a long heritage in managed services, whether that be workplace technology, mobile technology - much of which is under contract - or managed print services. They are used to contractual-led sales, so the transition from selling PCs transactionally to a managed service is not a particularly complicated one," he said.
On top of TechPulse, Sawyer said HP trumps some of its peers on several fronts, not least that it has been able to draw on its heritage in managed print.
"From the outset, we've invested in the software, analytics and proactive management tools that allow our partners to say ‘this will deliver material cost savings in terms of ongoing service costs'," he said. "We've also used our global services infrastructure all our partners are familiar with because of our managed print background, and made sure that was integrated from the start.
"If you don't have those two pieces then effectively you are selling a lease in disguise."
DaaS can also boost profitability for partners "in a world where it is hard to maintain margins from a pure transactional perspective", and also offers partners more predictability around refresh timings, Sawyer added.
According to predictions made by IDC last year, by 2019, 35 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies will have a DaaS agreement in place and one per cent will have completely transitioned to DaaS.
Although Sawyer said traditional capex sales will "continue to be a large part of the market", DaaS will naturally appeal in numerous use cases, including customers with a dispersed workforce.
"It might be a retail customer with 500 stores that have equivalent IT needs, where you can provide proactive management so you don't get any downtime in those stores," he said.
"Or it might be a fast food chain with similar requirements, or perhaps a utility company with thousands of people in the field who have mobile devices and they have an absolute regulatory compliance or business need to have 100 per cent uptime on their technology. It's those sorts of customers that will be really interested in this technology".
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