The Hardware as a Service (HaaS) model can be a desirable option for your clients. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often find that budget-friendly HaaS monthly payments are a manageable alternative to making an upfront capital expenditure. Furthermore, any business can see the benefit in a plan that allows them to upgrade their technology after a short term. The acceleration of technology disruption and industry changes make investing in an IT system outright risky at best.
For managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs), however, there are many questions surrounding HaaS, including which hardware to bundle, how to tailor offerings to specific clients’ needs, and how to finance solutions. Scott Agatep, Executive Vice President, Solutions and Services at ScanSource, provides some answers to those questions for VARs and MSPs.
Agatep says ScanSource offers point of sale (POS) and payments bundles that include hardware, configuration, installation support and replacements. ScanSource has also developed a HaaS offering for ISVs serving the SMB market where end users may utilize hardware from multiple suppliers but need a consistent support offer.
“Recently, we encountered many VARs who are interested in offering HaaS for a variety of hardware components,” says Agatep. “Often, hardware configurations vary greatly, and that variation impacts their support options across their range of partners.”
Looking to the future, Agatep says ScanSource sees opportunities to deliver SMB retail and restaurant offers for networking and communications equipment where service and support are bundled in.
With HaaS, then end user pays a monthly fee to use the IT system. The VAR or MSP, however, needs to find a way to finance the system upfront. Agatep says ScanSource has various financing options for its partners. “Our team likes to ask discovery questions to understand the needs of our partners and their customers. This allows us to customize financial offerings and be more proactive and flexible with financial solutions to help expand their purchasing power.”
He says ScanSource works with several financial partners to offer working capital to optimize cash flow. “We also offer an automated platform to generate competitive lease quotes, rental bundles that include hardware, configuration, installation support and replacements, and Device as a Service (DaaS) options that minimize the constraints of a long-term financing commitment,” he says.
“In our experience, it is vital to understand the end user’s needs and tailor the HaaS offer to them. A one-size-fits-all approach is rarely successful,” says Agatep. “HaaS often makes the most sense when adding new technologies that are adjacent to the core offerings. But, it’s important to understand that there is always a delicate balance between providing competitive financing and delivering margin for the channel.”
Agatep says ScanSource’s sales teams help educate partners about its HaaS offerings, often starting with the questions. “Does it make sense for your business model?” and “Does it make sense for your end user needs?”
“For instance, if a VAR or ISV works with a lot of new restaurants, the monthly payment alternative can be quite attractive as they are looking to preserve startup capital. But some established restaurant groups or chains are still reticent to adopt HaaS as they often prefer to utilize their bank for low-interest, consolidated debt,” he says.
“We don’t actively push partners toward HaaS,” says Agatep, “We prefer to act as a consultant and allow the market to adopt the program that works best for its needs. However, for partners interested in offering HaaS solutions, we provide customized sales sheets and web content for the partner so they can weave it into their pitch effectively.”
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