Historically, finding budget and capital for technology projects has challenged businesses. However, the problem has intensified since the pandemic when many businesses digitized and adapted their processes to new regulations and consumer demands. As a result, companies need new technology – but raising funds may be even harder, especially for restaurateurs and retailers experiencing declining in-store traffic and supply chain challenges. Point of Sale (POS) Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is the solution for many merchants.
Nick D’Alessio, Senior Business Development Manager at Brother Mobile Solutions, says Hardware as a Service, such as the Shift & Print subscription service from Brother Mobile Solutions, is a practical way for merchants to acquire advanced technology, increase efficiency and compete.
“Instead of justifying CAPEX to purchase hardware, HaaS enables acquisition costs to become part of the organization’s OPEX as a recurring budget line item. In addition, with HaaS as a procurement option, value-added resellers (VARs) will find it’s much easier for their customers to go from ‘hold to sold,’ he says. “Clients benefit from using the latest technology without the lengthy delays for approvals or the financial strain of taking resources away from areas needing a long-term investment.”
“We’ve rolled out our program with a select group of VARs, and it’s been quite popular. They’re telling us HaaS is simply a more modern, less risky, and convenient way of managing technology assets,” D’Alessio adds.
Successfully Selling Hardware as a Service
D’Alessio points out that selling HaaS requires a different strategy than selling IT hardware outright. “When you’re ready to bring HaaS to your customers, the sales process begins with identifying the right target at the prospective company. It will likely be operations managers in industries such as over-the-road trucking, retail, home healthcare and across the supply chain and many more,” he says.
D’Alessio adds that the size of your prospect isn’t necessarily an indication of their likelihood to sign a Hardware as a Service contract. “Organizations of any size can now have the latest, best-performing hardware, including printing and labeling technology,” he says. “For smaller companies, HaaS makes it easier to scale up to meet growing needs while only paying for what they need, when they need it.”
Researching your prospect’s current IT environment can also pay off with more HaaS deals. “You’ll initially have the most success targeting a business already leasing a printer or copier or using Software-, Platform- or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, respectively),” D’Alessio says. Additionally, he says that you may also have more success selling to organizations without a large IT department and those with geographically diverse locations.
Once you have a sales call with a qualified prospect, be ready to communicate the value that Hardware as a Service provides. “ROI calculators, case studies, customer testimonials and third-party validation and research are great ways for VARs to communicate the value of HaaS,” D’Alessio says.
Rest assured, businesses will recognize that value. According to market research in 2021 by UnivDatos Market Insights, the Hardware as a Service market is expected to experience solid growth and exceed $304 billion by 2027. A recent study by Spiceworks found that 71 percent of IT decision makers say the top benefit of HaaS is reducing the support burden on their internal IT staff. Nearly 40 percent credit HaaS with lowering total cost of ownership (ROI) and reducing expenses, and 43 percent cite easier setup and maintenance with IT provided under the HaaS model. Also, businesses recognize that Hardware as a Service reduces the amount of obsolete technology in the workplace, which can impact security and competitiveness.
D’Alessio also points out that before jumping in, you must evaluate the pros and cons of selling Hardware as a Service and ensure it’s the right move for your business. “If a VAR’s customers or prospects want to buy the hardware outright, that should always be an option. Here at Brother Mobile, we are still happy to sell hardware! HaaS is simply an option that allows VARs to move more deals forward,” he says
The Hardware as a Service Outlook
D’Alessio describes the opportunities HaaS will create for VARs over the next five years as “excellent.”
The Spiceworks study found that retailers and wholesalers are most likely to take advantage of HaaS, with 31 percent of retail or wholesale organizations using the HaaS model for one or more devices (compared to 24 percent overall). An additional 7 percent of retail businesses plan to adopt HaaS within the next few years.
However, businesses in a wide range of market segments can benefit from it; for example, 29 percent of education and financial services organizations currently use a HaaS model.
“Regardless of the industry, HaaS has clear benefits such as predictable, monthly OPEX costs, frees up CAPEX, enables end users to deploy scalable solutions and always be current with technology. Also, HaaS can reduce the need for internal IT and increase system uptime, “D’Alessio says. “It’s a procurement option worth investigating.”