Device as a Service Provider: 8 Questions to Ask

By Patricia Ross
Topics: Device as a Service (DaaS)

8 questions to ask every device-as-a-service provider

Remote work and hybrid work have become the standard for many companies across industries. Device as a Service (DaaS) is a key ingredient to making both of these work models, well, actually work efficiently. Utilizing device as a service helps companies maintain business continuity while also providing flexibility for employees, security across the organization, and reduced overhead costs. Gartner forecasts that the number of users for device as a service will grow by over 150% between 2020 and 2023.

The benefits of leasing devices instead of paying upfront for your fleet has significant benefits no matter the size of the organization. Getting the same hardware at an affordable monthly subscription rate, makes a lot of sense, but it also provides you with services to make mobility management even easier.

Finding a device as a service provider whether it’s through a bank, other financial institution, or a managed mobility services provider, starts with asking a few questions. Before you drill your provider about the services and opportunities they provide, you need to start with a few questions for you and your team:

  • What it is you’re looking to finance?
  • Is it just devices?
  • Are you looking for devices and services?

Outline your expectations before you go into the discussion and select a DaaS solution.

Provider motivations

If you’re looking to only acquire devices, you can go to your bank or financial institution. However, if you want services added into it, you need to reach out to a managed services provider who can add those services.

Understanding the motivation of the provider will help you make a better business decision.

Carriers: Want to get your devices under contract. For phones this can make a lot of sense but when you start to think about tablets, which don’t have a contract term, you start to think about what a carrier could bring to the table for a device which wouldn’t be under contract.

Banks: Want to get the finance charges from the lease which is how they make their revenue.

DaaS provider: Want to put together a leasing package and refresh your devices in 2 years. They aren’t necessarily trying to make the most money from the lease term, they’re motivated to make that refresh and turn in a bit easier.

 8 questions to ask every device-as-a-service provider

  1. Do you include carrier services as part of the lease?

Larger direct providers won’t finance their billing into a lease for prepaid models. They require a two-year contract with monthly billing. However, some of providers who resell carrier services include carrier rates in their leases. This is more common with data only, but some add voice as well. The flip side is because large carriers won’t finance into lease, you’re decoupling your hardware from your contracts, this is a separate conversation in which you need to be prepared to go back to your carrier and let them know you’re removing device subsidies and need to renegotiate lower rates for monthly services.

  1. Can we flex up and flex down?

When you purchase a set number of devices you need to know up front the percentage they’re expecting back. With a mostly remote or hybrid workforce, you may need some wiggle room when it comes to turning in devices at the end of your lease. Do you have room for a bit of fallout with those devices? If not, you may think about what it’s going to take to scrounge for every single one at the end of your lease. You also want to know if you can purchase more than you might actually deploy so you can have a backstock to pull from should one or more end up damaged.

  1. Are you able to co-term?

Going hand in hand with flexing in your lease is the ability to co-term. Co-term means you can acquire more devices whenever you need them and they follow your existing lease term. If you’re growing rapidly, considering opening another branch or facility in the next two years, or are expanding your hybrid workforce, co-terming is a good plan. You don’t want to get stuck having to buy 200+ new devices and having to manage yet another lease term. Or multiple new lease terms, which can end up being quite a headache.

  1. Does the lease include packaging the devices? And if so, what does that include?

Understanding what you’re able to package or not package into your lease is important. They’re not all created equal. Many leases have ratios between hard assets (a phone or tablet), services (such as Vox Mobile services) and third-party assets (a ruggedized case). Certain leases indicate that the lease needs to be comprised mostly of hardware with services as only a certain percentage of the value of your total lease. Knowing what you’re able to finance within your lease can be different. Ideally you want to bundle all together. If you’re told you can’t have services in your lease, keep looking, because other providers will let you do that.

  1. What about fair market buyout?

Know upfront the buyout rate. If you purchase 1,000 devices, do you have to return all the devices or can you return 995? This is especially important if they say they must have every device back because they may charge you above fair market value for those that are missing. Get this in writing to make sure you’re not sorry later.

  1. What are the end-of-lease requirements?

Traditional items have serial number leases, you’re leased specific serial numbers and you need to return those specific products back at the end of the lease. The standard for computers at the end of lease was that the serial numbers had to match. With phones this is more difficult since they can be damaged—think shattered screens—and we get new devices to replace them. Serial number for serial number in a mobile context can be difficult. Some leases are still predicated on that thought. But others, such as Apple’s leasing requirements for end of lease are model for model. So you break an iPhone 12 128Gb and get a new one that’s OK as long as it’s an iPhone 12 with 128GB. They don’t care about serial numbers, how many times it’s been replaced. They just need the same model back.

  1. What about end-of-lease packaging and logistics?

We talked about devices and serial numbers, but there are some tactical elements you need to be aware of. Are you responsible for getting them into one location, packing them up, and send them somewhere or does the provider send you the labels and you have to disperse them out to your locations, or will they dispatch someone out to your location and package them up for you. Lease turn-ins can have a lot of expense tied to them at the end of life to complete that process, so be aware you’re going to have a form of effort and cost. Our recommendation is to get it all included since you don’t need to be managing that on your own. A managed mobility specialist like Vox Mobile can help you balance device end-of-life before it sneaks up on you. We make it one known cost from beginning to end.

  1. What ROI can you expect?

The biggest questions you need to ask are of course around ROI. Is this helping me? Are our carrier rates going to go down? Even if you don’t end up leasing, it’s a conversation you need to have with your carrier up front to get a good idea of what you can expect to pay. You also have to calculate how much time and resources you have to manage this Meetings and red tape, unsubsidized devices, services, accessories, plan roll-outs, lease turn-in, and logistical deployments of your entire fleet is a lot to manage, in fact it’s a full-time job. Is there a person or team who is only managing your mobility, and how much does that cost? What’s the ROI of having someone take on this burden in addition to their regular responsibilities?

Vox Mobile is the answer

Remote and hybrid work are here to stay and so is device as a service. Both have shown they’re good for business, driving efficiency and enhancing your sustainability in a competitive marketplace. From reducing costs to enhancing collaboration, device as a service empowers your dispersed workforce.

To manage your device as a service solution effectively you need to partner with someone who is a specialist in all mobile devices, no matter the manufacturer, or the kind of device. Vox Mobile’s expertise is rooted in mobility, including all mobile devices not just smartphones. Even if your fleet is a mix of operating systems, smartphones, or tablets, we can help you get the best pricing and lease terms.

We know how to shop around to the different providers to find the exact package you need under one easy-to-manage and easy-to-budget payment. Our Device as a Service solution offers:

  • Device provisioning
  • Scalable and zero-touch deployments
  • Repair and replacements or mobile devices
  • EMM/UEM migration and upgrades
  • Inventory and logistics management
  • Extended device warranty
  • Accidental damage protection
  • 24/7 end-user help desk
  • On-demand project help desk
  • Financial management

Contact us to set up a meeting and get the answers to all your DaaS questions from one of our mobility experts.