IT is at a critical juncture. On one level it’s never been more central to business operations or the drive for innovation and competition. On another, the demands on the IT department have never been so high. IT leaders have their own forward-looking projects and their own ambitions to drive through, but they’re under pressure from the top to innovate and optimise and from the bottom to provide more flexibility. They’re also being pressurised to provide the kind of technology that workers actually want to use.
That technology is predominantly mobile. In IDG’s recent Workplace of the Future survey, 84 percent of the IT decision makers surveyed cited the laptop as the most important device for the workplace of the future, with the tablet taking second place. Virtually all respondents agreed that consumer attitudes towards technology were reshaping the workplace, while two-thirds felt that either technology or a mix of technology and culture was crucial for attracting young talent. In fact, modern IT equipment and infrastructure was rated as the second most important factor here, second only to flexible working practices.
The survey makes it clear that IT managers are mostly satisfied with their existing IT, but also looking to embrace the new, whether that means mobility, devices that support flexible working practices, voice-powered AI assistants, machine learning or cloud. What’s more, where workers have grown used to a constant trickle of new technology in their living rooms and biennial updates of their flagship smartphones, five-year laptop upgrade cycles no longer do the trick. Nobody wants to lug around a 2.5Kg breeze block of a corporate laptop when they’re working with a thin-and-light model in the home – particularly when the latter has more power to get things done.
This leaves companies with a challenge: to deliver devices that are fit for purpose, with the capabilities to handle new applications and support new modes of working, and to deliver them in a format their users will approve of. Modern mobile devices are obviously key here, and even business-focused laptop lines are following the consumerisation agenda, growing slimmer and more stylish, while providing the kind of performance, connectivity and battery life that make workers not just happier, but more productive. After all, it’s not about just looking stylish, but being fit to do the job.
The rise of SaaS – and HaaS
But it’s the adoption of cloud-based applications that points to a more effective deployment model moving forwards. SaaS has seen enterprises move away from a two-to-three-year update cycle, to one where applications are taken as a service with continual improvements – not to mention the advantages of losing Capex in favour of Opex.
Hardware could take a similar journey through Device as a Service (DaaS) or Hardware as a Service (HaaS) options.
With Fujitsu’s Hardware as a Service plans, businesses pay a monthly subscription per user, getting the latest, best-in-class devices, along with the ability to renew their fleet on a regular basis - usually every three years. Not only does this mean removing most of the burden of managing and maintaining your own hardware, but those younger workers – always hungry for the new – never get stuck with an out-of-date machine.
It’s hard keeping everyone happy, from the boardroom to the office floor, but with the capabilities businesses need and the modern style workers demand, HaaS could help IT leaders manage it.