In a world where everything from your phone to new models of construction equipment can be offered as a monthly service, all industries have taken notice. The office technology industry, long anchored by the monthly lease payment or click charge, along with the transition into new, more traditional IT offerings, is well-positioned for leadership in this area. The benefit of monthly recurring revenues to enterprise value in a hot M&A market heightens the interest of office technology leaders.
As your firm starts to evaluate the possibility of new as-a-service solutions for your customers, here is a quick readiness checklist:
If you have services that are primarily complementary (like hardware and supplies) or secondarily complementary (like service, consulting, networking hours, etc.), that’s where to begin. You’ll want to show customers how much they can have with a simple, bundled, and affordable monthly payment on technology that, at a particular point in time, will be replaced with a new agreement and technology. Complementary solutions make that easier.
Billing System Integration
If all of your solutions, even the complementary ones, are billed on separate systems or IT infrastructures, you have identified the first big challenge. Having a billing system that can integrate solutions, including your financing platform, is essential for success.
Having a few customers representing the perfect candidate for the solution to experiment with as you build it is important. While a discount may be in order since they are helping you build this model, you’re learning will far outweigh any loss in profitability. It’s critical, though, to be upfront with customers that they are on the leading edge of a new solution and shouldn’t expect this capability to be without a few kinks.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
What are you going to name it? What is the standard messaging? How are you going to promote it? All of these efforts take time, forethought, and planning. Many as-a-service efforts fail because management feels the simplicity of the solution will sell itself. Nothing sells itself.
An Engaged and Creative Finance Relationship
The run-of-the-mill customer finance provider is too far in the box. The right finance provider can not only help you with strategic planning conversations and building the product but also with issues of technology integration, sales and marketing integration, and helping to elevate your brand once the solution is live.
At LEAF, we help office equipment dealers think bigger and offer solutions that reach far beyond customer financing.