Is Device-as-a-Service Worth It for Engineers?

DaaS is rising in popularity for its convenience and flexibility, but there are drawbacks to consider as well.

Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a popular way for companies to provision the hardware they need flexibly and effectively. For engineering executives, DaaS provides a mechanism to scale technology devices up or down in response to new business requirements. Here’s a primer on DaaS that explains its popularity, benefits, drawbacks and the key providers.

What is DaaS?

DaaS gives enterprises the opportunity to lease computing hardware, including tablets, laptops, desktops and workstations. As well as the hardware, companies receive the IT administration to keep their kit working, secure and up to date. 

How popular is DaaS?

The simple answer is “very”—and it’s becoming more popular all the time. Spending on DaaS reached $51.7 billion in 2021, according to Allied Market Research, and annual growth rates of 42.6 percent mean the market will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2031.

The demand for DaaS grew quickly during the coronavirus pandemic. DaaS helped companies to provide the computing hardware their remote-working employees needed quickly, flexibly and cost effectively.

Straits Research points to additional factors that have accelerated DaaS market growth: the rapid adoption of cloud-based subscription models more generally, the increased and onerous requirement for policy compliance, and the rising demand for cost-effective and secure devices for business users.

Engineering executives should expect DaaS to continue growing in popularity. Allied Market Research says large enterprises accounted for almost one-third of global DaaS spending in 2021, and this segment is expected to dominate by 2031.

What are the benefits of DaaS?

DaaS continues to be seen as an effective answer for device provisioning in the post-pandemic age. Many engineering professionals continue to work from home for at least some of their working week. Others undertake work activities at locations away from the office, such as at manufacturing plants, customer sites or supplier chain partners.

For engineering executives, DaaS provides a way to support remote workers’ hardware requirements without having to expend huge amounts of cash up front on high-performance devices. DaaS allows workers to hook into a virtualized desktop and to undertake many of the tasks they would do in the office from their homes or out in the field.

As well as ensuring the provision of managed devices for remote-working professionals, DaaS offers another big plus point to IT and finance executives: a shift from operational expenditure to capital expenditure, which offers predictability and flexibility.

Another benefit of DaaS is being able to call on an expert provider to help employees deal with device management headaches, such as policy compliance, device configuration, installation, data migration, on-site support and technology recycling. 

In short, going with DaaS gives engineering companies the opportunity to scale hardware resources up and down quickly without suffering a big hit to the bottom line or a significant uplift in pressure for internal IT teams.

As DaaS partners begin to take the strain for device management, so IT professionals can spend less time on repetitive administration tasks and more time on value-adding activities, such as undertaking digital transformation and exploring emerging technologies.

What are the drawbacks of DaaS?

DaaS might be growing in popularity, but it’s not all good news. Don’t make the mistake of assuming DaaS is a magic bullet for all internal IT headaches. While most DaaS services include provisioning, patching and maintenance of the resources used to host workloads, DaaS vendors do not generally include adding and managing enterprise applications.

Many vendors are still honing the precise details of their DaaS services. As we’ll see below, there’s subtle differences between the major specialists in this nascent area of technology provision. Any engineering executive thinking of going down the as-a-service route should spend time evaluating the differences between vendors and their respective costs.

It’s also important to think carefully about the types of devices you’ll source. Many tasks performed by engineering professionals—from design to testing and onto manufacturing—require high-performance computers. While some of these tasks can be completed on devices at home, others require access to more powerful machines, such as high-spec workstations. Sourcing the right tool for the job at the right location is essential.

Finally, any form of external provision involves some loss of control. While DaaS can remove the day-to-day challenges of hardware management, it can also mean your business has less influence over key elements of technology provision, including information security, compliance and updates. If you’re going down the DaaS route, you must make sure the business is aware of the relationship it’s entering and that it trusts its partner.

Who are the main DaaS providers?

Major hardware providers, including Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, who are the three largest engineering workstation manufacturers, already have mature DaaS offerings. Microsoft also has a device management strategy. Here’s what these services look like:


Lenovo DaaS covers an array of devices—from phones and tablets to personal computers and onto data center technology. The service can incorporate other IT manufacturer’s hardware for specific business needs, which could be useful for engineering companies with bespoke requirements. Lenovo DaaS focuses on six stages of the product lifecycle, from planning, configuring and deployment to support, management and end-of-life disposal. Its ThinkShield platform, meanwhile, ensures security features are built into devices.


Dell’s PC as a Service (PCaaS) offering is split into two main types. PCaaS for Business combines hardware, software, lifecycle services and financing in an all-in-one solution. The service is aimed at executives who want simplified lifecycle management for between 1 and 299 laptops, desktops and workstations. PCaaS for Enterprise is aimed at firms who need 300 or more managed devices. This enterprise-level service can be tailored to specific business requirements and Dell provides a service delivery manager for the life of the contract.


HP works with executives to ensure users receive hardware that’s best suited to their needs, including Windows and Chrome Enterprise devices. Its AI-driven HP TechPulse platform provides analytics to help businesses optimize IT spending and resources. Volkswagen Japan is using HP DaaS to access devices, repair services and analytics in a single monthly agreement. HP also offers a DaaS+ Hybrid service, which provides pre-configured devices to ensure employees can work seamlessly and securely from anywhere.


The software giant offers hardware as a service through its Microsoft Managed Desktop program. It’s a cloud-based device management service centered on Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which includes Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise, and the firm’s Office apps. As well as its Surface devices, Microsoft’s DaaS supports other manufacturer’s devices, including Dell and HP. Microsoft Managed Desktop provides end-to-end device management and security monitoring from the company’s technology experts.

What’s the future of DaaS?

As well as support for mobile devices, laptops and workstations, IT industry experts believe DaaS services will be bolstered by provision for other forms of hardware. Straits Research refers to an emerging area known as Wearables-as-a-Service (WaaS), which includes managed support for smartwatches, virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses.

Engineering executives should expect WaaS offerings to become more important during this decade as more companies explore digital twin capabilities for the design, monitoring and control of industrial assets through a mix of specialized software and hardware.