CFOs are always struggling with this dilemma: Technology increases efficiency and saves money — but on the other hand, technology costs money. The coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown made the problem even more apparent. Operations must now adapt to social distancing, but cash-strapped businesses need to find a way to afford the IT solutions that can help. That’s why there’s never been a better time to offer Hardware as a Service (HaaS) to your clients.
“People were planning much different things in 2020,” says S. Nick D’Alessio, Senior Business Development Manager at Brother Mobile Solutions, “HaaS removes the burden of a new hardware purchase that companies need now and gives them the ability to adapt and scale over time.”
How the Pandemic Amplifies Hardware as a Service Benefits
Hardware investments often involve a long sales cycle. Going into 2020, CFOs were taking longer to approve capital expenditures — and many aren’t approving CAPEXs at all right now.
Hardware as a Service makes the decision much easier. HaaS allows businesses to upgrade to state-of-the-art technology without CAPEX. Instead, you provide them with the IT hardware they need for a monthly fee, replacing a sizable, upfront payment with a budget friendly, tax-deductible OPEX. HaaS programs, such as Brother Shift & Print Subscription service for mobile and desktop printers are also SMB-friendly, with HaaS contracts as low as $1,000.
Keep in mind, however, that HaaS is more than hardware leasing. It’s a total solution that guarantees the customer the functionality the hardware provides, without the hassle of unexpected repair costs. You can also sweeten the deal by setting up value-adds. For example, when providing printing HaaS solutions, you can enable automated supply reordering, so your customers never have to deal with out-of-stock toner or late shipments that lead to downtime.
Additional Hardware as a Service benefits include:
- Lower TCO: When you provide your customer with a HaaS solution, you manage setup, maintenance, and much of the other tasks that internal resources normally address. HaaS helps eliminate the burden on IT and lowers expenses.
- Security: The latest hardware updated with the most recent firmware version is a best practice for security, both for the device and your client’s network as a whole.
- Efficiency: Up-to-date technology performs better and helps to streamline operations — but that’s not the only source of efficiency. Purchasing a total technology solution is easier than dealing with separate contracts for hardware, peripherals and in some cases even the software. And the customer isn’t saddled with the task of dealing with retired hardware.
- Scalability: HaaS enables organizations to use the hardware they need now and plan strategically for hardware acquisitions as their businesses grow.
- Reduced risk: Many businesses and enterprises are looking for solutions to urgent problems created by the pandemic. However, they won’t want to be locked into using a solution long term, especially in light of rapid tech acceleration and constant competitive pressure. HaaS contract periods, often between 1 and 5 years, allow organizations to change or upgrade hardware as their needs change.
HaaS Value Translates Across Verticals
D’Alessio says it’s easy to see Hardware as a Service benefits for retailers, especially when they’re looking for the most efficient and effective ways to serve customers with respect to social distancing. HaaS programs can help them affordably acquire the hardware they need, even during economic recovery.
HaaS also offers value to businesses in other verticals that are facing new challenges in 2020. For example, many supply chain organizations are overwhelmed. The “Amazon Effect” has put pressure on companies to accelerate fulfillment and delivery to satisfy customers who want their orders by tomorrow — or sooner. HaaS can enable them to equip their teams with the mobile computers, printers, and other hardware they need to operate more efficiently and productively.
D’Alessio adds that the oil and gas industry has been very volatile and investing in capital equipment can be risky. He says some managers even search online sources for used equipment, only to find later that they’re spending more than necessary on service, or worse yet, wind up with discontinued and unsupported hardware without a warranty altogether. “They just create headaches for themselves down the road,” he says. “HaaS gives them the benefits they need in the short-term and allows them to scale cost-effectively when needed.”
Hardware as a Service Benefits for Solutions Providers
In addition to offering benefits to your clients, HaaS also has benefits for you, especially if you partner with companies that help you manage risk. Brother, for example, has developed a program that doesn’t require partners to pay or borrow to cover any of the upfront costs. Brother’s partners are paid in full when the customer signs a HaaS contract, and the program’s finance company takes on the debt and risk.
“At this time in history, that’s good for the channel,” D’Alessio says. “The pandemic threw more fuel on the fire, putting a strain on businesses that sell hardware. HaaS can help them stay solvent.”
HaaS also makes accounting easier, eliminating uncertainty about cash flow and providing you with an easy answer to the question of when to pay your sales team their commissions.
Although it may come as a surprise to software companies, HaaS also offers unique benefits to ISVs. “Companies that don’t sell hardware know their customers need hardware to run their software, but they may resist selling it,” D’Alessio explains. “If they want to manage a total solution, HaaS removes the barrier for software providers by taking care of the hardware.”
“Even if they don’t sell hardware, they can partner with a vendor that can provide it as a Service,” says D’Alessio. “When I explain that option to my software partners, I can feel them smiling through the phone. It’s a huge benefit.”
Don’t Miss the HaaS Opportunity
The demand for IT solutions is high, and your clients are looking for ways to acquire state-of-the-art hardware that can help them adapt their processes to social distancing and other challenges created by the pandemic. You have the opportunity to sell HaaS solutions by enrolling through the Brother partner program. Brother partners can bundle or customize HaaS solutions to provide clients the exact solutions they need*.
As a trusted advisor, let your clients know you understand the dilemma they’re facing, and you have the answer.
*Shift & Print Subscription Service is subject to credit approval.