Swapping computers, pulling strings, patching cans – the life of an IT employee takes place to a large extent under desks and behind shelves. Many a back-breaking administrator therefore surely dreams of setting up new workstations simply at the click of a mouse – ideally with free delivery of the appropriate computers.
This dream can become a reality. At least that’s what the providers of Workplace as a Service (WaaS) promise. Depending on their orientation, they provide complete working environments as a cloud service (Software as Service, SaaS) or also take care of hardware and its installation. “Workplace as a Service is a comprehensive service offering that allows companies to purchase complete workplace landscapes with the associated IT services for installation and operation,” explains Ellen Kuder, Digital Business Solutions Go-to Market Director Europe at IT service provider Dimension Data.
The boundaries between this and other services related to the IT workplace are fluid and are drawn quite differently by different market players. The market research company Information Services Group (ISG), for example, defines Workplace as a Service as a highly standardized product that is offered from a public cloud and billed according to use. This distinguishes WaaS, for example, from Virtual Desktop Services or a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which provide customer-specific desktop environments from public, hybrid or private cloud environments, or from the Desktop-as-a-Service model (DaaS), in which workstations are delivered via a dedicated cloud server and managed centrally. Finally, the Workspace as a Service model is also marketed under the abbreviation WaaS, which generally offers end-device-independent access to a virtual desktop landscape.
Many Workplace-as-a-Service offerings, on the other hand, include more advanced services. “In addition to desktop-only services, the operation of back-end systems such as mail and voice communications, collaboration and document management will be secured and provided as well,” said Dimension Data’s Ellen Kuder. Companies such as Aluxo, My Workplace and Vertical go one step further. They offer complete workstations including client hardware and peripherals for rent. “Workplace as a Service refers to a piece of workspace as a full-service offering for a fixed monthly rate,” says Marcus Rieck, managing director of Aluxo IT, outlining the scope of services.