Device-as-a-Service Finally Reaches Maturity

By Jim Haviland
Topics: Device as a Service (DaaS)

Much of the risk and hassle of enterprise mobility that Mobile Thought Leaders (MTL) have talked about (complained about) over the past 7 years has involved the challenges of managing and securing the hardware throughout its lifecycle.  We talk about security but the projects fail, run over budget, or create embarrassing situations when devices get stuck or fall through the cracks in the life-cycle. These barriers can be solved, now that Device as a Service is offered in the marketplace.


My Favorite Horror Stories about Enterprise Mobility Devices:
  • A large hospital system standardized on iPhones but used one vendor for buying the hardware, another for configuration, another for EMM management, and another for recycling. They didn’t realize how broken that was until they saw some of their devices showing up in other parts of the world, including a few thousand in China, still connected to their DEP configurations.
  • We have heard a dozen different versions of the “VP lost/broke a device” story and the fire drill the follows. A favorite involved a plane ticket and a passport, followed closely by the one where the exec walks into a foreign Apple store and buys a non-DEP device on a foreign carrier.
  • Countless MTL member stories include the drawers, boxes, and file cabinets that contain broken or returned devices, the fallout of broken steps or edge cases in a process that also represents a major investment by the organization that tends to leak in many directions.

The problem has been that no one vendor could effectively and efficiently bundle everything together in a way that really removed the burdens of having a fleet of devices roaming about while facing all the unique and sometimes devastating problems that mobile devices routinely find themselves in.  No single vendor can represent all the phases of life for the device and also promise an experience that meets the needs of all your users.  All providers faced the same problem, there are many pieces to the puzzle and they are all managed through discrete systems and programs, leaving gaps in the process and creating risks for everyone.

The scenarios described above created real headaches for organizations, until a new model for procuring and managing enterprise devices came to market – known as Device as a Service (DaaS). DaaS solves for Multiple supplier contracts, complicated agreements, rapidly changing technology, 24/7 support needs, security threats and extremely high user expectations. DaaS helps free up the time of your IT department as well as gives your finance department peace of mind.


The Future of DaaS

Many MTL members have mentioned hopeful optimism that a new program developed by Vox Mobile and Apple could be a model for the future.

With the new offering named Vox DaaS+MMS for Apple, Vox is now able to provide, for a single monthly price, all the lifecycle services and the systems to tie them together in ways that provide new insights and new opportunities for optimizing the experience. The combination of all of Apple’s enterprise programs and services, all of Apple’s technologies for enterprise management, and all of Vox’s experience and systems for enterprise support – all managed through integration of backend systems.

Vox has produced this short video about the service.



Line of Business Simple

Early analysis suggests that this model could really change the hardware budgeting and management part of the digital transformation process.  By including all the traditional IT services like help desk, depot repair, and DEP management, along with the financial tools like leasing, warranties and insurance, the single price per month becomes a solid budget number. Carrier services and bandwidth will have to be the next part of the puzzle.

The initial packages don’t include carrier services, but evidently that is coming.  This does include devices even in those places where you might have normally relied on carrier subsidies.  Since Gartner and the rest of the analyst community started publishing on how inefficient and costly the carrier subsidy model is, many organizations are negotiating their new carrier contracts without them and saving 15% to 30%.  Further proof that there is no such thing as a free lunch or a free iPhone.

While this can be applied to any fleet of Apple devices, it is clear that this can give all those line of business, purpose-deployed device projects an easier road to budget acceptance as costs will track more closely with returns and the risks associated with a new fleet is all but entirely removed.   Interestingly, this can also be a true cycle with devices being refreshed through regular attrition – no need to create large refresh projects with the disruptions to process and budgets.

Vox has put together a handful of resources to further explain the DaaS model, as this level of simplicity is hard to accept. More info is available here:

They have also produced a webinar that discusses the details of the offering:

The Key Takeaways from the webinar:

  • Gartner and other analysts have strongly recommended that all companies negotiate multi-year carrier contracts without hardware subsidies. Even if you aren’t ready to move to this purchasing mechanism yet, the analysts recommend the first step is to have the right contracts in place.
  • Vox DaaS+MMS for Apple is a truly “no touch” lifecycle offering that covers all the things that can and do happen for a single monthly fee, removing all the risk and management burden from IT or procurement
  • The economics and processes of carrier contracts, subsidies, and early termination fees are completely replaced with a simple, single-vendor process that offers benefits to users, IT and the CFO.