Moore's Law — a concept named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore used broadly to refer to the quick pace of technology advances — states that computer chip processing power doubles every two years. Today, about half a century since the creation of Moore's Law, that time frame is usually quoted as only 18 months, and sometimes even less than that.
Moore’s observation is especially applicable to many small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). That's because, as challengers to the big, well-known brand names, SMBs have a critical need and opportunity to leverage technology for a competitive edge. However, they don't always have the financial resources or cash flow necessary to keep up with technology changes through conventional methods.
This is where Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) comes into play.
HaaS provides a cost-effective solution for businesses to keep current with rapidly evolving IT innovations while still controlling costs. Let’s dive deeper into the intricacies of HaaS before reviewing the top 5 benefits that come along with it.
HaaS Defined: New Term, Old Concept
HaaS is a new and rapidly growing managed service, and the concept has been around for years. When your cable provider installs a new router to replace an outdated one, or your wireless carrier sends you the latest cell phone included in your monthly plan, they are essentially providing hardware along with the service.
Even your office water cooler is a piece of hardware that is often included as part of your bottled water system subscription. Purchasing these items outright may not be practical — who wants to be stuck with obsolete and unusable equipment? Outdated IT equipment can be even more costly, especially to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It can lead to poor productivity, lower revenue, and lost data.
Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) provides businesses a convenient pay-as-you-go model to lease the technology they need that they would otherwise likely have to purchase, such as servers and multifunction printers. HaaS agreements usually include a maintenance/support contract.
Top Benefits of Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)
Combined with a service level agreement (SLA) from a managed services provider (MSP) that covers all aspects of a business’s technology needs, HaaS alleviates many hardware headaches and provides companies of all sizes substantial benefits.
From low upfront costs to built-in scalability, here are the top benefits of Hardware-as-a-Service.
1. Reduced Capital Expense
By not having to spend a lot of money upfront for the next major network hardware upgrade, HaaS has the financial benefit of converting a considerable capital expense into a more manageable operating cost. HaaS can free up cash flow and provide more working capital, which is critical to many organizations.
A fixed monthly cost provides organizations clear financial visibility, helping organizations budget for technology more efficiently. HaaS removes the unpredictability factor involved with maintenance and upkeep. If an MSP has a proactive service approach, they will have a vested interest in maintaining an efficient and productive network.
2. Updated Technology on a Regular Basis
A HaaS solution includes repair or replacement of broken hardware but also timely upgrades to state-of-the-art technology. This helps to maximize productivity and eliminate a great deal of buyer angst, which often accompanies IT purchases.
Remember Moore’s Law? You can't expect to succeed in tomorrow’s business landscape using yesterday’s tools. HaaS is a great way to stay current with state-of-the-art technology specific to your industry and business goals — from digital production printers and copiers to servers, business security systems, and more.
No longer will you feel compelled to “try to make things work out” with outdated technology because of cost constraints.
3. Better Troubleshooting and Maintenance
The proactive service model associated with HaaS delivers a high level of service integrity and operational reliability. Ongoing IT support from an experienced MSP ensures technology maintains peak performance, helping resolve problems before they arise.
Too often, new hardware is purchased, while maintenance is neglected due to costs. With a HaaS solution, the equipment and the accompanying maintenance services are included in the SLA. Businesses can forget about the potential implications of equipment failure and system crashes right after a warranty expires. Just let your MSP resolve — or better yet, prevent — the problem.
HaaS has built-in scalability. As an organization grows and changes, so do its technology needs. With HaaS, organizations can integrate any number of new components, from one to many, all depending on their needs.
In consultation with your MSP, together, you decide what equipment is right for you. If the opposite occurs and for some reason your business contracts, you can scale down with a HaaS solution and not be stuck owning unneeded appliances.
5. Improved Security
When it comes to IT hardware and security, new is often better. For example, businesses often need to update their hardware and software to ensure network security. Alternatively, a company may need a better or bigger appliance as a component of their comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan. With HaaS, it is easy to upgrade to the latest hardware for security reasons.
Stay Competitive with the Latest Technologies with HaaS Solutions Tailored to Your Business
Hardware-as-a-Service provides businesses a competitive edge by enabling them to increase productivity with top-of-the-line technology while saving money. Managed service providers take care of maintenance and upkeep so organizations worry less about their technology and focus more on business-critical operations.
Companies ready to ditch their outdated hardware should partner with managed IT specialists to implement a HaaS solution tailored to their business needs. An experienced service provider will perform an IT assessment and work closely with your team to determine which technology should be included in the program.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 26, 2016, and has been updated for accuracy and current best practices.