Why hardware-as-a-service might be right for your small business.
You might already be familiar with the concept of software-as-a-service (SaaS). Instead of buying software, you subscribe to it. Your small business trades a large, up-front bill for a smaller recurring expense that you pay every month.
A growing number of providers are offering a similar option for your physical equipment. It’s called hardware-as-a-service (HaaS). Big companies like Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft have started introducing HaaS programs geared to all kinds of customers.
On the surface, that might sound like you’re just leasing your desktops, servers, point-of-sale devices and other machines—not a particularly new idea. But HaaS is different, and depending on your situation, it could offer some real advantages for running your company.
Extra Help With Your Hardware
For starters, HaaS is usually offered by a managed services provider that will install, monitor and maintain your machines. If you’ve been your company’s unofficial IT person, that takes work off your to-do list.
Because the provider is actively maintaining and troubleshooting your machines, you have a better chance of enjoying longer, happier use of your equipment—and avoiding downtime that kills your team’s productivity.
Replacements and Updates
If your equipment does break down, or if it simply gets too old, your provider is responsible for replacing it. You don’t have to constantly worry about the warranty expiring, and your company doesn’t have to cough up hundreds or thousands of dollars for an unexpected hardware purchase.
Your agreement with your provider may explicitly state that it will replace your machines on a schedule—every three years, for example.
The provider also takes responsibility for properly disposing of the old machines, destroying any data on their hard drives and certifying that disposal.
Freeing Up Your Capital
The other big benefit to HaaS is its impact on your finances. Your hardware is no longer an item on your balance sheet. It’s a recurring, predictable expense.
And just like with SaaS, that monthly cost is smaller. For a small company that doesn’t have a massive amount of resources, you aren’t forced to make a big investment in a depreciating asset.
You can expand faster, too. If you need to scale back, it’s a matter of “unsubscribing.” (Depending on the terms of your agreement with your service provider, of course.)
Who Is HaaS For?
HaaS might not be right for larger enterprises, which would rather have their own IT team in house, or for microbusinesses, which only have a few machines that don’t require a ton of maintenance. But experts say hardware-as-a-service could be a good choice for small and midsize companies looking to solve their equipment needs at a lower price point.