Most people have heard of Hardware as a Service (HaaS) in passing, yet few outside of the MSP Business industry have an intricate understanding of it. MSPs should take a moment to consider the value of HaaS and determine if it’s prudent to offer it to clients.
It’s best to reference Software as a Service (SaaS) when attempting to understand HaaS. It wasn’t long ago when most businesses paid for software all at once. Nowadays, plenty of software is purchased with the SaaS model. Rather than purchasing software outright, businesses pay a periodic subscription fee to access the software. This is beneficial to the client as it provides employees with access to the latest version of the software. Such an arrangement also frees the company to select another software as time progresses as no long-term commitment is made. The SaaS model has spread to all types of software, from locally-installed Office programs to web-based software, and beyond.
The success of SaaS paved the way for HaaS. Businesses now pay monthly for software, hardware, and managed IT services. Some refer to the HaaS model as hardware leasing. This isn’t a mischaracterization, yet offering HaaS as a managed services provider has more depth. If a company offers HaaS, the physical equipment is supplied and the business is responsible to monitor and maintain that equipment over time. The business then combines supplementary services like security safeguards and online backup for the monthly fee.
How to Offer HaaS
If you’re thinking of implementing HaaS, consider the following ways. The first is to source and deliver equipment privately. It’s possible to provide HaaS in a completely independent manner. This method requires the purchase of the HaaS equipment and the subsequent installation, configuration and maintenance. A monthly service fee that leaves room for profit is then decided upon.
However, such an approach requires a substantial amount of startup funding to pay for the initial purchase of the client kit. Many managed service providers don’t have enough money to supply client offices across the board. It might take upwards of half a decade to make the initial investment back. This approach is rife with risk, especially if clients can’t pay after initially agreeing to terms. Yet, the benefit of the independent approach is that once profit is made on the equipment, it’s owned outright and can yield a profit for years to come.
An Alternative Approach: Ally with Larger Companies
An MSP Business can offer HaaS by teaming up with manufacturers and larger businesses. This approach requires arranging the services so it’s not necessary to finance the physical hardware at the beginning of the venture. Such an approach lowers risk but also puts a roof on potential profits.
Where Does HaaS go From Here?
Though HaaS probably won’t spill directly into the mainstream like SaaS, offering HaaS can help distinguish your MSP from the pack. Offering a full IT infrastructure at a specific monthly rate is a straightforward deal that prospective clients can easily understand and respect.
Figure out a means of financing the venture, make a profit from it, and you just might pinpoint a fantastic stream of revenue that bolsters your bottom line. Perhaps more importantly, the successful implementation of HaaS will separate you from the rest of the competition. It could be exactly what you need to expand your client base, make a name for your managed IT services company, and thrive in a niche that competitors have completely neglected.