Insights

Why ‘workspace technology as a service’ is the solution to post-COVID tech investment

Is an as-a-service model for workspace technology the ideal solution for organisations looking to shift to a more agile way of working after the pandemic? We would say a definite yes, for a number of reasons…

The global pandemic drove a huge uptake in workspace technology, pushing even the most traditionalist sectors into digital transformation, and encouraging even the most unconvinced of tech-sceptics to gain new skills and habits. Businesses had to adapt to survive – and fast.

The speed of this critical adjustment meant that solutions were sought out under incredible time pressure. Without the luxury of a proper consultation and procurement process, tech was understandably bought piecemeal, to solve specific challenges and keep the cogs of commerce turning. And the number of companies doing this were staggering.

Zoom, for example, had 10 million daily meeting participants at the end of 2019, but by April 2020 this number had shot up to 300 million. Laptop sales were up 11.2% between April and June 2020, and there was a surge in demand for webcams, as home-working areas were set up in studies, kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms across the country. The cloud-computing market grew significantly and continues to do so – Gartner predicts it will make up 14.2% of global enterprise IT spend in 2024, up from 9.1% growth in 2020. Everyone needed to pivot to the digital workspace.

The next new normal: not business as usual, but better

As we’ve discussed at length in previous papers, such as The Lure of the Reimagined Workspace, and Remote Working and the Future of Business, we’ve got a golden opportunity to engineer a positive step-change in the way we work. We can re-evaluate our hastily made digital transformation decisions, to make sure they support business objectives properly, and offer best value for money. Get this evolution right, and we can ensure better outcomes: better productivity, better agility and resilience, and ultimately better profitability.

But achieving these benefits takes a long-term, holistic view – something you simply don’t get from your average IT supplier. What’s needed to fulfil the potential of the post-COVID shift in workspace design and technology is a partner who isn’t focused on the short-term sale, and who isn’t product focused. Tech is not a silver bullet; success is as much about how technologies are integrated and implemented as it is about the products themselves, and for that you need a broad-focus consultancy service with in-depth knowledge and experience of bringing together people, data and devices to optimise business outcomes.

Tech investment with no up-front capital requirement

However, after having invested heavily in new technology last year as a crisis management tactic, available capital for this re-evaluation is likely to be thin on the ground. Additionally, given that the wisdom on post-COVID working seems to favour an iterative process to find the right ‘new normal’ – since there are myriad versions of hybrid working, and each organisation will need to find the right model to suit their culture and market – purse-string-holders are likely to be loath to invest large sums up front, only to potentially have new investments become obsolete as the iterative process progresses.

Yet there is a solution to these challenges: workspace technology as a service. This Aura offering enables enterprises to access solutions for their business across all types of site, from owned or leased premises to homeworkers’ own spaces. There’s no up-front investment to factor in, and there’s flexibility over what the monthly (or quarterly) spend can be counted against, which means that it’s an agile approach to ensuring optimal agile working practices – outcomes are the driving force, not product sales, which ensures the best possible return on investment.

The as-a-service model first emerged in IT – where we saw ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) appearing just before the Millennium – and has now been adopted across a whole variety of sectors. It’s now the norm to buy your mobile phone using a 0% finance deal which matches the length of your contract with your mobile network provider. Car manufacturers and brokers have even introduced a subscription model, where you pay a fixed sum each month for your vehicle and its upkeep, and can often swap it when you feel like a change.

Ahead of the field in workspace technology as a service

When we launched Aura, back in March 2020, the as-a-service model was a key part of our offering. But we didn’t get to talk about it much, because suddenly the demand for tech-enabled workspaces mushroomed, and we saw ten years’ worth of digital transformation progress in just a couple of months. As the dust settles, and we’re moving into a phase of working with clients to enhance their new agile ways of working, we’re seeing a big increase in interest regarding workspace technology as a service. Indeed, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) global survey – taken in February 2021 – found that 61% of organisations were interested in shifting to consumption-based models for IT investment.

In keeping with what the statistics suggest, we’re now seeing an increase in enquiries about our workspace technology as a service offering, from a wide variety of organisations interested in the way that this model provides accountability for outcomes.

To find out more about how we can offer the sort of joined-up, long-term thinking to provide the right solutions to fulfil your business objectives, drop our friendly team a line today. We’ll be able to chat through, in more depth, exactly how your organisation can achieve the benefits of workspace technology obtained through our as-a-service option:

•            Immediate return on investment through a tech-driven productivity boost

•            The ability to flexibly change, upgrade and refresh tech to match evolving business needs

•            A simple, tax-efficient payment model, which avoids hidden support costs

•            No up-front investment required, so capital can be used elsewhere to support growth

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More Future Thinking Insights From Aura

Improve agility and resilience with ‘workspace technology as a service’

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Quocirca Industry Innovators Report- Aura: Reinventing Workspaces For The Hybrid World, 2021

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