It’s time to start a revolution!

The right DaaS strategy is not just in the hardware, but also ‘heart-ware’

Ken Wong
Ken WongAP Senior Vice President and President
I lead a fortune 500 tech company's rapid growth markets in Asia Pacific across PCs, mobile devices, and data centre infrastructure. I have extensive experience over the last two decades managing complex geographies in technology leadership roles at global, regional and country levels. I enjoy turning data insights and analysis into a powerful strategic direction that has seen us deliver exceptional innovation.

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There’s been a seismic shift in the technology industry—we’ve all felt it. The emergence of a subscription economy, coupled by the growing mobile workforce and end-user demands for personalised solutions, is encouraging the uptake of new technology-enabled services in the coming years. Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) is no exception.

The global DaaS market is expected to grow approximately US$8 billion by 2023, a 9% CAGR between 2017 and 2023. All eyes are, of course, on Asia Pacific, which will witness faster adoption compared to the other regions. Technology has transformed significantly to make way for new operating and business models. The time is now ripe for organisations to deploy DaaS.

The rapid evolution of the PC market is putting game-changing devices such as 2-in-1 business notebooks (think of the ThinkPad Yoga) in the hands of workers. This means they get the best devices that suit their needs to perform at their best—ultimately boosting an organisation’s overall productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, software such as virtualisation and cloud computing are empowering today’s mobile workforce to work on their own terms. A good example is how we are now able to access critical information beyond the office. For me, productivity is no longer tethered to my desk as I analyse the latest earnings report while waiting for my flight.

However, it’s not just about having the right hardware and software. A successful DaaS deployment also requires adopting the right mindset and fostering the right culture. I’ve had numerous discussions with other business leaders around this topic and gleaned good insights on the approach we need to have to properly integrate new technologies for greater business impact. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Resist the resistance

CIOs today are under a lot of pressure, especially given how technology is becoming a business differentiator for any organisation. CEOs often pose them this question: how can we adopt technologies to help us win over competitors or avoid lagging? For CIOs, they are expected to go beyond ensuring that their teams keep IT well maintained for seamless operations. They also need to explore avenues for innovation and improvement to keep their organisation agile, productive, and competitive.

While change is the new norm in today’s digital age, it doesn’t come easily within organisations. Resistance is common across all levels—even CIOs—for fear of the unknown. How will it impact the work they do? Are there new processes to learn and new regulations to adhere to? Will it ever come to the point where their position becomes obsolete?

It’s human nature to resist change, so it’s important to grasp the ‘whys’. Take the time to understand the gains your organisation stand to enjoy by positioning the benefits of DaaS in a way that resonates with them—both rationally and emotionally. Whether it is enjoying greater productivity and business agility or feeling empowered to do more with greater work satisfaction, this will go a long way to helping them become more receptive to change.

Embrace an innovation-centric mindset

DaaS can be viewed in two ways. One; as just a simple subscription service, and two; as an innovation enabler. How you see it says a lot about your mindset!

Why is it so important to view it as the latter? Simple: because it changes how organisations approach DaaS (or other technology initiatives in general). With an innovation-centric mindset, an organisation’s IT team often place full trust in the technology partner—the one delivering DaaS—to resolve end-user computing issues, ensure that the business is running seamlessly, and keep employees productive. Ultimately, this frees up their time to focus on strategic priorities, revenue-generating activities and driving innovation.

On the flipside, organisations that approach DaaS merely as a subscription service often expect savings due to it shifting IT costs from capital to operating expenditure. Nothing wrong about thinking this way, but it’s often a short-term goal. Take it a step further by shifting the way you think. It’ll help maximise your DaaS investments and provide you with more than what you can imagine.

Create a culture of proactivity, not reactivity

When we talk about cloud computing ten years ago, audiences wouldn’t see it as important and would likely dismiss the need to adopt it. We know how this goes. Today, it’s very difficult for enterprises to function without the cloud, as it proliferates every industry.

Similarly, I foresee DaaS taking off the way cloud computing did. Evolving work requirements and different job functions demand different devices and software. It’s only rational that end-user computing strategies shouldn’t aim for conformity of devices but interoperability—with apps, software, and data accessibility across different platforms, with the same level of functionality.

By now, we should know what disruption is and what it can do for the business. Understanding the business benefits helps us better plan for DaaS deployment and when to do it (which is now!) instead of playing catch up when DaaS finally takes hold of the business landscape.

This is especially apparent in Asia Pacific, a region with a diverse mix of emerging and mature markets. Deployment in emerging markets is naturally more aggressive due to the rapid uptake in technology. In my conversations with CIOs, many of them are looking towards fine-tuning their operations and culture to be more attractive to millennials, who are slowly dominating the workforce. Hence, it’s more important than ever to have a flexible and dynamic model to cope with the demand and taking proactive steps will demonstrate the willingness to adapt.

It’s easy to be swept up in the hardware and software aspect of DaaS; after all, it is about devices. However, it’s equally important to have the right mindset to complement all the technology initiatives your organisation is driving. Even for us at Lenovo, making the shift from a hardware vendor to a service-led technology partner that offers DaaS requires a massive cultural transformation and a shift in our management’s mindset.

New technologies will continue to evolve existing operations and business models, and I’m really looking forward to exciting times ahead. Download our “Ultimate Guide to Cyber Security in the Smart Office” and learn all about how to deploy your new security strategies today!

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