Most organizations have not yet wrapped their minds around the fact that PCs and tablets are now essentially disposable. Companies can no longer think of endpoint devices as a capital expense that can be amortized over a few years. The rate at which new devices and software upgrades are appearing has made that approach to acquiring devices somewhat obsolete. In its place, there will soon be significantly more organizations acquiring endpoints as part of a services contract.
For example, Microsoft already offers a Surface-as-a-Service program that regularly delivers upgrades to its popular line of tablets. The distributor Ingram Micro has taken that concept a step further by applying it to both PCs and tablets alike.
This holiday season, managed service providers (MSPs) should take note of these programs because many customers will soon be asking them to support devices that they got as a gift. Whether an MSP chooses to respond to that request will come down to how much that MSP wants to stick to the letter of the services contract they have in place versus making the individual customer happy.
Using device envy as a conversation-starter
Regardless of whether the end customer has a new device or not, this is a good time of year to have a conversation about changing the way they acquire devices. After all, most end users are suffering more from some form of device envy when it seems like everyone around them has a new toy that can do something their existing devices can’t. The best way for organizations to stay current is via a services contract that ensures everyone in that organization will have continuous access to a steady stream of endpoint device upgrades.
The fundamental change that needs to occur to make that happen is that the customer needs to view those endpoint devices as an operating expense rather a capital expense. Getting them to make that jump is much easier when in the back of their minds they're thinking about how much they'd like to be as cool as everybody else, especially in the eyes of their own children.
Benefits of OpEx model for MSPs
Naturally, MSPs have a vested interest in gently nudging customers in the direction of operating expenses. Customers that don’t regularly upgrade their endpoint devices are more expensive to support than those that stay current. Plus, getting customers to regularly upgrade their systems becomes much easier when it’s built into their services contract.
There are still all the issues associated with upgrading all the software that runs on those machines, but that quickly becomes part of a regular cadence of upgrades that makes the life of the MSP a whole lot simpler. In fact, this holiday season MSPs might want to consider giving a tablet as gift to some of their most valued customers just to get the conversation started. After all, there’s no better way to get the rest of the organization thinking about how much they want a new computing device than to see someone they work with enjoying something they don’t have.
Photo by Nathan Lemon