Historically, finding budget and capital for technology projects has often been a challenge for businesses. However, during the pandemic when many businesses are digitizing and adapting their processes to new regulations and consumer demands, the problem intensified. Businesses need new technology—but it may be even harder to come up with the funds, especially for restaurateurs and retailers experiencing a decline in store traffic. 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 solid way for merchants to acquire advanced technology, increase efficiency and compete.
“Instead of having to justify CAPEX to purchase hardware, HaaS enables acquisition costs to become part of the organization’s OPEX as a recurring budget line item. 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 get the benefit of using the latest technology without the lengthy delays for approvals or the financial strain of taking resources away from areas in need of 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 that 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 really 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.”
A little research into your prospect’s current IT environment can also pay off with more HaaS deals. “You’ll initially have the most success targeting a business that is already leasing a printer or copier or using Software-, Platform- or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, respectively), D’Alessio says. He adds 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. 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 need to evaluate the pros and cons of selling Hardware as a Service and make sure it’s the right move for your business. “If a VAR’s customers or prospects want to buy 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 that 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 use the HaaS model for one or more types of 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, with 29 percent of organizations in education and financial services currently using 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 really a procurement option worth investigating.”