The coronavirus crisis has sown panic and confusion as it has hit business hard during the first months of this year. However, everything has a good side, and in this sense, the Covid-19 has also “almost unintentionally” promoted collaboration between companies in search of new business models and global solutions.

During the last decade, globalization and new technologies have brought about very big changes in the way we work. Undoubtedly, the way companies communicate, collaborate and involve their workforce will continue to evolve, if current trends and technological advances continue.

In addition, in the 21st century, due to the advance of technology, the Internet and social networks, it has been possible to see how the concept of consumption has evolved from the concept of property to what is known today as ‘collaborative consumption’, which is the form of consumption based on shared use.

The extension of this concept and of this new form of consumption is such that it has reached practically all areas of daily life, such as, for example, car sharing, Airbnb, the rental of bicycles, scooters or motorcycles, and at work, coworking.

This also extends to products and services on demand by customers, and this is where a new trend is born, focused on the world of work, and driven by advances in technology and changes in consumption: Workplace as a Service (WaaS).

What is the Workplace as a Service model?

The Workplace as a Service (WaaS) model is an extension of the Software as a Service (SaaS) concept, and is a model that is growing in popularity among the business community, in fact, the market is expected to reach $18.3 billion by 2022.

With WaaS, services such as cybersecurity, cloud services, insurance or data erasure, hardware, software, that is, everything a company or a worker needs to equip a workspace and start working are no longer bought, but simply rented by billing the company an agreed amount per month.

Laptops, printers, Internet, smartphones, tablets, monitors, projectors, even conference rooms, etc. With WaaS, all the tools that the client needs and that should be available in the different work stations of the organization are analyzed, thus stopping worrying about maintenance and the large initial outlay. With this model the client obtains a space created specifically according to their needs and the culture of the organization.

Among its objectives are to provide a productive and trouble-free IT environment for all users in the workplace. At the same time, it eliminates pressure from the company’s IT department, as well as ensuring optimal security.

This creates a high level of flexibility, data security, reliability and maximum transparency regarding overall costs for users and businesses.

How can this be done?

Workplace as a Service is fully managed, from provisioning to ongoing support, allowing the organization’s IT resources to focus on more important tasks.

There are a number of phases to implementing this model and providing a great workplace experience for employees while keeping user data and devices secure:

  • Model design: WaaS experts meet with the different stakeholders of the organization to make clear the requirements, define objectives, solve doubts, talk about the needs of IT tools and the different environments where workers work (at home, in the office, if they are on the road a lot, etc.). A strategic analysis is made, of the technology they need and the environment in which they work.
  • Configuration of the equipment: At this point the software and hardware configuration is carried out to prepare them for implementation.
  • Implementation: In the implementation, all the equipment is moved to the corresponding places, distributed, installed and made sure that everything is in perfect operation.
  • Optimization: Once everything is installed and in operation, we move on to the optimization phase, which is mainly carried out by a technical support service. These experts solve most of the problems that arise and optimize the equipment according to the extra services that have been contracted, for example, if there are ‘VIP’ services for users with high ranks and / or standard services for the rest of the employees.
  • Maintenance: This phase aims not only to solve problems and ensure that all equipment is updated but also to prevent them from occurring by ensuring that all equipment is always in operation and permanently monitored. This is also where reacting proactively when data shows that a problem could occur.
  • Disposal and upgrading of equipment: After several years of use, IT equipment will become obsolete, and therefore will have to be disposed of and replaced with newer, more up-to-date equipment.

The Workplace as a Service solution consists of several basic components. The customer can choose the complete solution or start with one of the services that suits their business objectives.

What are the advantages and disadvantages for companies?

The main benefits of Workplace as a Service are:

  • Cost savings: Being a model of equipment rental, the cost of this type of service is lower than the initial cost that the company would have to make to acquire all the equipment in ownership.
  • Fixed rental rate and transparent monthly costs: WaaS offers the facility of being able to pay a fixed fee every month for everything contracted.
  • Upgrades and maintenance: Depending on the package chosen by the company, upgrades and maintenance of all rented materials and services are also included. This saves the company time and ensures that everything is always up to date and in perfect working order.
  • Data removal: As with the maintenance, depending on the package chosen by the customer this will include the data deletion service. Many times the data is not deleted correctly and this could cause legal problems, with WaaS the experts would take care of this issue.
  • Personalization of the equipment: For example, when a new worker joins the company he can personalize both the hardware and the software according to his preferences and needs, besides he has the complete equipment ready to use. This increases their satisfaction as well as their commitment to the company.
  • Flexible adoption: At the beginning and for testing purposes, the company can choose the basic package, and if later on they want and like the model they can take other packages and adapt them in a flexible way according to their needs and requirements.

These benefits make the WaaS model interesting for all companies regardless of their size. However, it must be taken into account that with this model a commitment is acquired, a rental contract and therefore, a certain dependence with the supplier, so, for example, in case the company that hires this service starts having problems to be able to pay for it, it is very possible that the devices will no longer be available for this company.

On the other hand, despite its many benefits, many companies are still abandoning this type of service due to doubts about the implementation of cloud applications in terms of data protection and security.

The perfect combination: WaaS and SaaS

Maximum security, convenience and flexibility can only be achieved with the combination of Workplace as a Service (WaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) models because, unlike on-premise solutions, with SaaS, the software is not installed directly on the hardware, but access to data and applications is enabled through the cloud.

With the combination of these two models, the management effort by the company’s IT department is reduced to a minimum. Transparency and predictable costs allow financial resources to be deployed specifically and purposefully within the enterprise.

Workplace-as-a-Service complements the SaaS solutions, which are better known in the business environment, with the hardware component. Together, companies can avoid excessive investment costs, capital tie-ups are reduced, and long depreciation periods become a thing of the past.