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Accessible IT to Solve the SMB Dilemma

Lenovo Bridges the Technology Divide with Three New Device as a Service Offerings

In response to the growing need for affordable IT solutions for businesses of all sizes, Lenovo recently introduced three new offerings as part of its Device as a Service portfolio. However, when it comes to IT, the as-a-service model remains somewhat elusive for many companies as, on the surface, it may appear overwhelming. But in reality, this is a model that for much of society is all too familiar, and Lenovo is taking the steps to make it more accessible, specifically for small and mid-sized businesses.

Since its inception, the as-a-service concept (often referred to as a subscription or consumption model) has been an easy one to understand and see value. It’s a concept that has been deployed across multiple industries, including high-end clothing rentals, movies, TV, and even things like home improvement tools and machinery. Through it, companies and individuals have the ability to access programs and tools at a more affordable, monthly rate than they would have before and without a large upfront purchase. Sure, they may not own those assets, but, as many discovered, the value wasn’t in owning these platforms, but being able to access them when you need them and pay for what you use. However, though the concept is a recognizable one that many people understand and choose daily, when it comes to incorporating that model into business and IT, some shy away because it can seem complex.

Traditionally, it is a model that has been mostly embraced by larger enterprises with more users and devices. Having an outside company manage their routine IT support tasks makes sense so that their IT staff can focus on other strategic initiatives. However, when it comes to small and mid-size businesses, the device as a service concept has been viewed as something that would be “nice to have” but challenging to implement. But, the newly-encountered working demands that resulted from the pandemic have accelerated the need for SMBs to consider embracing a Modern IT environment with cloud-based resources that facilitate remote working. The device-as-a-service model offers a well-rounded solution to help them get there.

The SMB Challenge

If you’ve ever worked for an SMB before, you know the challenges. Expectations are high, time is precious and financial resources are limited. Add technology to the mix, and the issues are compounded with the fact that a lot of entrepreneurs are not well-versed in technology, nor do they have the resources to have a dedicated IT staff.  And if they do have an IT staff member, which in a lot of smaller businesses is actually someone in another function who’s just good with computers, they are probably not focusing on ways to optimize IT to drive the business forward. Instead, they are most likely tied up dealing with those pesky, but necessary, routine PC support tasks.

A study by global SMB IT research firm Techaisle confirmed these challenges, finding that maintenance and support tasks consume 77% of SMB IT staff time, leaving only 23% of time for transformation or innovation activities. Couple that with tight budgets and the fact that their technology (hardware and software) is often outdated which result in glitches that lead to extended downtimes. In that same study, 60% of SMBs reported that PC downtime increases operational costs, and 59% stated that it decreases productivity. As SMBs are often expected to do more with less, these are two areas of the business that simply cannot be affected. There is a strong correlation between productivity and employee satisfaction, and combined, these two establish the employee experience.

In December 2019 Lenovo commissioned an SMB study and found that that “a large part of how employees feel at work is related to their ability to get their most important work done.” In that study, 78% of productive employees stated that they were satisfied at work while only 23% who believed they were not productive stated the same. So, if the employee experience starts and ends with productivity, then productivity starts and ends with having access to the right tools. More than 80% of the respondents who felt as though they are productive at work stated that they are satisfied with their experience using work devices, while only 47% of the less productive employees felt the same.

Ultimately, this all boils down to access to the right technology, and Lenovo is working to make the entire concept more digestible for more companies.

Lenovo’s Solutions for the Small and Mid-Sized Business

In response to the growing need for affordable IT solutions, Lenovo developed its Device as a Service (DaaS)model. While reminiscent of the subscription and consumption-based models of today, Lenovo DaaS is actually something all its own. Described internally as a services-led support model, Lenovo DaaS is tailored to fit the customer’s specific need. The focus isn’t on simply buying/financing devices and attached services, but rather helping the customer achieve their desired IT outcomes with a single configurable solution through a predictable, affordable and periodic fee.

This is a service that can benefit all businesses, regardless of their size, which is why Lenovo recently expanded its portfolio of DaaS solutions to include three new offerings that make it easier for small and mid-sized businesses to benefit from this model.  Simplify, Accelerate, and Transform DaaS offerings provide an easy, structured entry point to the DaaS environment making it even easier for businesses to benefit from a Modern IT infrastructure with no upfront investment.

Simplify is one of the most direct approaches to DaaS available. It’s an ideal solution for SMBs that want to dip their toe in the device-as-a-service pool without having to completely overhaul (or build) an IT infrastructure. Through this offering, customers have access to

  • The very latest technology – Desktops and laptops are offered for companies to select the devices that work best for their employees’ needs (remember that employee satisfaction metric we discussed earlier).
  • Lenovo Premier Support – The 24×7, VIP advanced-level support solution that gives customers access to Lenovo’s dedicated team of technicians to handle their device maintenance and support needs.
  • Affordably monthly payments – As per the “as a service” prerequisite of a model of this type, customers can pay for the use of the technology over the course of the 1 to 5-year contract, the end of which they can either choose not to renew, or retire and refresh their devices and start all over again.

This is the simplest version of a device-as-a-service model and is most appropriate for companies with simple IT environments and needs.

Accelerate is an expanded version of Simplify and incorporates all of those great benefits, but also includes imaging/enterprise-ready preload, asset tagging, custom BIOS settings and Microsoft Autopilot registration. Designed for medium-sized businesses and enterprises, Accelerate enhances the speed and ease of IT delivery utilizing the efficiency of Lenovo’s configuration services and streamlined deployment. These services provide a premium end-to-end user experience across the customer’s organization.

Transform is the robust offering ideal for large enterprises capable of changing the way an organization experiences Modern IT, delivering premium devices, expert support, smooth and simple deployment, plus Lenovo’s advanced IT automation and intelligence services. Wrapping in everything from the Simplify and Accelerate solutions, Transform also offers companies the flexibility to build a custom DaaS solution combining any options from Lenovo’s full services catalog. As with all of the Lenovo DaaS offerings, the services, software and devices the customer chooses are combined into a single monthly invoice with flexible Lenovo Financial Services financing.

The Final Take

Switching to a modern IT infrastructure can seem daunting and expensive, especially in light of necessary budget constraints that so many companies are under due to the challenges and uncertainties of COVID-19. But, when offered solutions like Lenovo DaaS and its Simplify, Accelerate and Transform bundles, more and more companies can feel comfortable switching their IT to a subscription model because it more closely aligns with their needs and provides an efficient way to utilize and budget for IT. This is especially true as more and more companies consider making a permanent move to remote work, which requires cloud-based resources and security to enable a safe and productive working environment from anywhere. The device-as-a-service model is a huge part of this evolution that makes that possible for just about any company, and once they do make the switch, they’ll undoubtedly never look back.

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2020