Not long ago, businesses typically directed high-end notebooks and mobile devices toward the C-suite, whether those executive users needed high-performance machines or not. Devices were a bit like wristwatches, valued for their ability to show off status nearly as much their ability to perform a task.

Today, most organizations are becoming more strategic about device deployment. Many are opting for Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) as a way to reduce management obstacles, cut costs and improve productivity. Developing user personas is a critical step in a DaaS deployment.

The persona management process addresses how different types of users have varied work styles and use their technology tools, such as mobile devices, differently. For example, a “road warrior” will likely have different device needs from a back-office worker, and they’ll both have different needs from warehouse employees and call center agents. One worker may need only the simplest device, while another won’t be nearly as productive without a device that offers plenty of processing power as well as long battery life.

Organizations should follow these tips when setting up their user personas:

1. Value Strategy Over Finance

Some manufacturers have their own programs that they call “Device-as-a-Service.” But, because these programs limit an organization’s device options to those made by a single vendor, they are actually more of a financing model vs. a true service-driven solution for managing total cost of ownership.

CDW’s DaaS program offers numerous devices from multiple vendors, giving organizations and users a wide range of options. The program still saves organizations money over the lifecycle of the device, but also gives enterprises access to benefits such as persona strategizing, configuration services, warrantees, analytics and end-of-life services.

2. Prioritize Business Benefits

In the past, organizations often took a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach to device deployment, rolling out hardware that fit their budgets with little regard for user preferences or workflows. That’s simply not an option any longer. First of all, many users — especially millennials — will simply go elsewhere if they aren’t given the IT tools they need to get their jobs done. This is an issue that is only going to grow in importance, as the Digital Marketing Resource Center estimates that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

It’s important to note that this isn’t merely a matter of users feeling entitled. Workers are smart, and they know what features — such as form factor and processing power — they need to do their jobs. While the importance of user choice is sometimes overlooked by organizations, these employers are forgetting that user satisfaction itself is a major business benefit. This doesn’t mean that every user should be allowed to choose the most expensive possible notebook or smartphone. But giving workers slow or clunky devices that are unsuited for their job roles is a recipe for disaster. Well-defined user personas will enable organizations to offer specific device profiles designed to meet the specific needs of those users.

3. Don’t Forget About Apps

In developing device personas, companies sometimes make the mistake of focusing exclusively on the devices themselves. Mobile apps and other software tools are also important. Some organizations have hundreds of different applications, and users will be more productive if they’re given access to exactly what they need. Different personas may also require different levels of security and service.

4. Use Data to Refine Personas Over Time

Device personas shouldn’t be static. While many organizations have a good idea of their different user groups at the start of a DaaS deployment, they often find that employees have greater or lesser needs than they originally anticipated. CDW’s analytics offerings, which are included with DaaS programs, help organizations to gain these insights and refine their personas — which can help to further reduce costs, improve productivity or both.

Learn more about how CDW can help you deploy Device as a Service or other mobility options.

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