As of 2020 Microsoft was looking for a program manager for its Cloud PC team. Now, the tech giant is set to roll out its PC-as-a-Service offering with Windows 10. While most users have bought new devices with the company's operating system pre-installed, or installed it themselves after building a new PC, the new model will see Microsoft distribute its operating system and apps as a SaaS offering over the cloud.
So, what exactly is PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS)? PCaaS is a device lifecycle management model in which an organization pays a monthly subscription fee to lease endpoint hardware and management services from a vendor. The goal of PCaaS, also known as Device-as-a-Service, is to make PC lifecycle management, including purchasing, managing, retiring, and refreshing PCs and other endpoint devices, simpler. An organization pays a monthly rate for the use of a vendor's devices and services, which saves IT on the costs of purchasing hardware for users to work with.
According to Microsoft, the goal is to “eliminate high up-front costs by breaking down your device order into smaller, regular monthly payments.”
The company’s Cloud PC service is set to be optimized for personal computing, speed, and performance while businesses can expect improvements on scalability and data processing.
When Microsoft's PC-as-a-Service offering launches later in 2021, users will be able to access their Cloud PC from any device capable of running the Microsoft Remote Desktop client.
HP and Lenovo are examples of companies that successfully adopted a PcaaS model. According to Pankaj Harjai, Director, Commercial Channel of Lenovo India, PCaaS is a highly feasible model. “With close to 10 million enterprise and SMEs in the ecosystem, we’ve reached a penetration level of hardly 35% of companies that actively use computers. SMEs and startups in India can definitely benefit with PCaaS and it is a huge opportunity,” he said.
However, PCaaS won’t work for everyone, as it involves an inclusive review of business issues and a complex understanding of the company’s requirements and capabilities. Miscommunication or misconceived financial expectations can also work against the effectiveness of PCaaS. However, the predetermined life cycle of a PC can be now periodically refreshed with this model, an advantage for the industry as a device’s lifetime can now be extended.