When the term "PC as a Service" are discussed, one of the first thought that many end users and IT teams think about is out sourcing or out tasking. To differentiate between the two service delivery strategies, the following definitions are offered (... but before I do, the disclaimer, the thoughts and comments on this blog represent my own opinions and not those of my employer.)
Out tasking represents a service delivery strategy that is based upon an umbrella set of terms and conditons. The term is typcially three years and is driven by a service level agreement. Typically, out tasking is leveraged in a spike of resources such as W7 deployments or a new application roll out. The out task model is leveraged in isolating the Closed Loop Lifecycle Planning elements such as deployment, IMAC, disposal, warranty/maintenance (as examples). Part of the objectives include securing the best practice level, with an eye on sometime either bringing the operation back in house at a best practice level or continuing the out task model over a period of time.
Out sourcing, on the other hand, represents a decision of an enterprise to exit certain lifecycle operations. In out sourcing, more than out tasking, there is an entrance cost since the scope of the out sourcing agreements are generally longer (5 to 7 years) and deeper in terms of scope. Out sourcing usually entails the acquisition of personnel and assets. Lastly, out sourcers would prefer the scope to include asset management and help desk, which are critical to deliver best practices.
The Great Recession has brought many consequences our IT strategies. We have seen our IT budgets reduced, staff's downsized, and the training budgeted slashed (I know this may be a generalization but it clearly represents the perceptions I have observed). Even if this is half wrong or half right, what this implies is that the upcoming technology refresh cycle or resuming a planned technology refresh cycle given the new operating system, chipsets, management tools and other drivers, would quite possibly accelerate fesabiliy of PC as a Service leveraging out tasking and out sourcing given the constraints that we in IT are faced with today.
One of the questions I always as in an engagement is - "as an IT organization and as a enterprise, which businesses do you want in". I compare this to declaring your major in high school and college, what is your declared core copmpetancy.
With PC as a Service potentially more viable than ever, these questions now take on more meaning than before. Entering and exiting business operations is never a simple decision. In the upcoming refresh cycles, my opinion is that PC as a Service could be the catalyst for the paradigm shift where services led, whether out tasked or out sourced, will become top of mind. The trend will likely be cross industry and regardless of the size of the business itself.
The retaining of a business as usual model as well (the stable or existing state) may also drive the PC as a Service model since new technologies that we have discussed such as the cloud and virtualization are more easily packaged as a service.
As always, your thoughts and comments are encouraged. Are you seeing the same trends and are the same series of questions being asked in your business?
The Great Recession may very well provided the impetus for new service delivery strategies to be introduced into the business or at a minimum discussed in a more serious tone for consideration.