In a DaaS environment, organizations receive devices and ongoing management services from a third-party partner on a subscription basis. This differs from traditional device leasing in two significant ways: A DaaS partner takes on nearly all of the management burden associated with devices (including configuration, monitoring, support and even eventual disposal). And DaaS allows organizations to quickly scale their device environments up or down in response to changing needs.
Here are three challenges that DaaS can help nonprofits to overcome.
Limited IT Staff
Typically, nonprofits lack the expansive IT departments frequently found at large for-profit enterprises. As a result, they must be careful to make efficient use of their IT staffers, focusing their efforts on the most essential projects. With a DaaS partner taking over device management tasks, internal IT staffers can concentrate on application development, cybersecurity and other areas that advance the mission of the nonprofit.
In addition to device management, a DaaS partner such as CDW can monitor device and application use across an organization, helping to optimize the deployment of both hardware and software assets. Via monitoring, an organization might learn that some of its software programs are going unused, or that certain users don’t require the most powerful devices. This is important information that can help save the organization money, which can be reinvested in other IT efforts.
Nonprofits can be particularly vulnerable in times of economic distress, when donors may begin holding onto their checkbooks a bit more tightly. DaaS can help nonprofits to navigate challenging economic times in a couple of ways.
First, the approach allows organizations to adopt an operating expense financing model, rather than a capital expense model. Because DaaS engagements are financed via a monthly fee, nonprofits no longer have to plan out large capital outlays for devices years in advance — and they no longer have to push off their upgrade plans due to a lack of funding.
Further, the ability to scale up or down their device environments gives nonprofits the flexibility to respond to changing conditions. An organization might scale up devices when fundraising allows them to bring on additional seasonal staff, for instance, and then scale back down if funding dries up.
Recruitment and Retention Challenges
Nonprofits often can’t match the private sector in terms of employee compensation. Instead, they rely on people’s commitment to the mission and a desire to make a difference to draw in top talent. However, technology can also give organizations a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining the best employees. (Anyone who’s ever worked in an office that hasn’t replaced its fleet of computing devices for eight years can tell you how quickly such a situation makes a person want to quit his or her job.)
In a DaaS engagement, devices are automatically refreshed at the end of a contract cycle — again, without requiring a large capital outlay on the part of the nonprofit. Another important point: DaaS may allow an organization to roll out a wider array of devices, since a third-party partner (rather than internal IT staffers) will be providing support to various hardware and operating systems. This increased choice can be another draw for prospective employees and can also help keep current workers happy.