A Q&A with Dave Crist, President Brother Mobile Solutions
You’ve identified a need and packaged a great solution for a prospective client. You’ve generated a proposal and sent it over for signatures, only for it to be stopped by Finance. The company has other priorities for investing in capital equipment, and your point of contact just can’t get the project funded.
If so, you’re not alone. Client companies are faced with an ever-increasing number of projects seeking capital equipment funding, and they are taking longer to evaluate each one. But that doesn’t mean your business has to come to a halt.We sat down with Dave Crist, president of Brother Mobile Solutions America, to learn more about Hardware-as-a-Service, and Brother’s new Shift&Print Subscription program to help you move projects from on HOLD to just SOLD!
What is Hardware-as-a-Service and why is it needed?
We’ve all seen companies struggle to get technology projects approved—despite clear business benefits—due to cash flow issues or competing budget priorities. Hardware as a Service (HaaS) is a way to get today’s most advanced printing technology into the hands of your clients now so they can close security gaps, increase efficiency and compete more effectively. Instead of having to justify a capital equipment expenditure (CapEx) to purchase hardware, HaaS enables the program to become part of the company’s operating expense (OpEx), as a recurring budget line item.
Can you explain the key differences between CapEx and OpEx and how HaaS fits in?
Certainly. Capital equipment expenditures or CapEx are often larger investments that a company takes on to create a benefit in the future. For many businesses, CapEx funds are usually harder to come by and require more supporting justification and more stringent approvals, which is why these projects are often delayed. In contrast, operating expenditures or OpEx amounts are typically budgeted annually and paid monthly for the day-to-day running of a business.
As you know, one of the best ways to ensure peak performance is to use the most up-to-date software, hardware and devices. With HaaS, instead of waiting until a company can pay for the technology up front and in a lump sum (CapEx), your clients can get what they need now. Using HaaS, equipment is placed on a monthly subscription agreement and it becomes a predictable monthly payment (OpEx) for hardware, consumable supplies, accessories and even warranties.
In this way, your client gets 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.
What’s been the general experience with HaaS? Won’t companies object to not owning the hardware?
We are still happy to sell hardware! HaaS is an option that allows you to move more deals forward. Clients who choose HaaS will appreciate the ability to deploy more up-to-date and secure equipment—with all the latest features—as a competitive advantage. Plus, by removing the upfront investment and ownership, companies will be able to reduce their administration and internal IT support costs.
While Brother’s HaaS program, called Shift&Print Subscription Service, is among the first in the auto-ID arena, enterprise printers and copiers in the office have been using a HaaS model for many years. A recent study by Spiceworks found that 71% of IT decision-makers said the top benefit of HaaS has been reducing the support burden on their internal IT staff. Nearly 40% credit HaaS with lowering total cost of ownership and reducing expenses, while 43% cite easier setup and maintenance as well as reducing the amount of obsolete technology in the workplace, which can be a critical security issue. HaaS is simply a more modern and convenient way of managing technology assets.
What happens when the HaaS subscription runs out?
We’ve designed the HaaS program with four different options for clients at the end of a contract term. They can renew at a discount for the same items they currently have; they can buy-out certain assets and “own” them. They can retire or return assets that they aren’t using or don’t like, and, of course, they can upgrade to the newest devices or equipment. Unlike a CapEx purchase, HaaS gives your clients much more flexibility.
In addition, we’ll soon be introducing a convenient automated reordering program for supplies. This will help eliminate the pain and downtime clients have experienced from out-of-stock printer supplies. We are talking with smartphone manufacturers as well to offer additional HaaS equipment.
Who is the right target audience for HaaS?
Operations managers in a wide range of verticals such as over-the-road trucking, retail, home healthcare and across the supply chain are realizing that HaaS offers a better alternative to business as usual. Organizations of any size can now have the latest, best-performing printing and labeling technology. For smaller companies, it’s even easier to scale up to meet growing needs, while only paying for what they need, when they need it.
You’ll initially have the most success targeting a business that is already leasing a printer/copier, using Software-, Platform- or Infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, respectively), organizations without a large IT department, and those with geographically diverse locations.
According to the Spiceworks study, retailers are most likely to use HaaS, perhaps because retail locations are often spread out geographically, making it more difficult for internal IT teams to support their remote locations. Currently, 31% of retail/wholesale organizations use the HaaS model for one or more types of devices (compared to 24% overall), and an additional 7% of retail businesses plan to adopt HaaS within the next 2 years.
The study also found that 29% of organizations in education and financial services are already using a HaaS model.
Anything else we should keep in mind?
We recognize that not all companies will embrace HaaS for the same reason that some companies still prefer on-premise software. But times are changing, and Brother Mobile Solutions is your partner to help make sure you can take full advantage of the change.
Companies across a wide range of industries can benefit from our equipment and your expertise to make improvements to their productivity, speed, employee and customer satisfaction, and more. Together, we can make technology more accessible and affordable for a greater number of organizations.
Key benefits of HaaS
Predictable, monthly OpEx
Frees up CapEx
Reduces need for internal IT
Increased system uptime
Available in HaaS Subscriptions
Brother’s mobile, desktop and handheld thermal printers
Brother’s comprehensive limited warranties covering device replacement or repair
All Brother accessories, including charges, cables and cases
Automated reordering of Brother consumables, including labels, paper and ribbons
Third-party products including smartphones, handhelds and other solution-relevant items
*Shift&Print Subscription service offers numerous advantages for resellers:
Close deals faster by lowering the barrier to purchase
Offer convenient 12 to 60-month subscriptions
Easily configure solutions and proposals via simple automated pricing tool
Convert one-time transactions into long-term relationships