HP Inc. is expanding its device-as-a-service offering to include devices from Apple such as the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro, with plans to open the Apple offering to channel partners in the coming year.
While HP ranks No. 1 on sales of PCs worldwide, the company is a minor player in smartphones and tablets at a time when mobile devices are increasingly in demand in the enterprise. Many commercial customers are also experiencing IT challenges from having to manage both Windows 10 devices as well as Apple's iOS and macOS devices, said Michael Park, vice president and general manager for emerging compute solutions at HP.
"The differences create a need for more [IT] resources," Park said. "The IT guys are asking, 'Hey, as we're having to actually invest even more, is there some way you can take some of this workload off the table for us by pre-integrating it?' So that was the initial demand signal."
HP's device-as-a-service offering, or DaaS, aims to offer a simplified approach to device procurement, management, support and services for customers. The offering provides leased devices along with hardware repair and replacement support, analytics for issues such as device health and security, and unified endpoint management. HP's device-as-a-service is provided by channel partners and, in some cases, directly by HP.
HP's staff will be providing the Apple device-as-a-service initially in North America, but the plan is to onboard channel partners "over the course of the next year," Park said.
HP, which has signed a reseller agreement with Apple, is looking to ensure that all of its functional capabilities are working right before bringing in partners, "and that's why you're seeing a little bit of a lag between what we're building and when we're exposing the partners," Park said.
"The intent, which is the same intent with the overall HP DaaS offering, is to offer the entire program so that the partners can take advantage of it and build on top of the platform," Park said. "We believe that pre-integrating a lot of these core services into a unified offer, and then presenting that through an HP DaaS portal that partners can use to administer on behalf of their [customers], allows us to raise all boats in terms of bringing an end-to-end service to the market."
HP initially launched device-as-a-service as a custom, a la carte offering two years ago. This past September, the company rolled out three formal DaaS plans--Simplified, Enhanced and Premium--with more proactive management functionality available at the higher levels.
The Apple device-as-a-service offering is based on HP's Enhanced plan and includes dozens of Apple SKU choices along with features such as next-day onsite device repair or replacement, accidental damage protection, analytics for device health monitoring and a per-device pricing model.
"HP knows how to put [devices] into use in commercial environments, deliver support, security, management and lifecycle services that IT needs to integrate these devices into everyday workflows," Park said, adding that the new offering will provide Apple devices "paired with HP's world-class support and management services for every phase of the device lifecycle."
The partnership between Apple and HP comes as Apple continues pushing into the enterprise market, with other partners including Cisco, IBM, Accenture, Deloitte and SAP. In January, Apple launched its new "Apple for Work" initiative with initial reseller partner CDW, which provides Apple devices, device setup and employee onboarding for businesses.
For HP to work with Apple around device-as-a-service "totally makes sense," said Stephen Monteros, vice president of sales for public sector at Eagan, Minn.-based ConvergeOne.
"I'm definitely glad to see [HP] expanding. It's a good way to consume this product line, especially in education," Monteros said. "Apple was going to have to get into this eventually, and I'm happy to see them do it now. I'd like to see Apple add resellers that have relationships [with customers] into the mix."
Along with the Apple offering, HP disclosed that it's also adding two of its products to the device-as-a-service program. Those are the Z4 Workstation, which HP says is its best-selling high-performance workstation and the HP Windows Mixed Reality headset.
Additionally, HP announced that it's strengthening the predictive analytics capabilities of its device-as-a-service offering to better leverage insights provided via device data and machine-learning technologies. The DaaS analytics covers areas including CPU and memory utilization, device health monitoring for battery and hard drive life, Windows blue screen errors and security policy compliance, according to HP.
Overall for device-as-a-service, "we think all the signals of demand and need in the market are supporting this particular trend, and we think we're well-positioned as we move forward to really solve that problem on behalf of the corporate customer," Park said.