How can flexible payment solutions overcome the challenges of acquiring cybersecurity?

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the challenges of cybersecurity have become more complex and pervasive than ever before. The continuous growth in technological advancement has led to both enhanced business opportunities and increased vulnerability to cyber threats. As attackers continue to refine their tactics and exploit new technologies, businesses face a pressing need to increase their defences against an ever-expanding array of cyber risks. In this article, we discuss how we work with partners to overcome the challenges of acquiring cybersecurity for their customers, and explore the benefits of our payment solutions.

Understanding Our Partners’ Current Realities

The economic climate in 2023 has cast a shadow over businesses’ ability to prioritise investment in comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. As customers face financial constraints, pressure mounts on businesses to deliver protection while navigating squeezed profit margins. Partners are confronted with the need to find cost-effective solutions that align with customers’ financial realities.

The Cybersecurity Breaches Survey highlights that:

  •  32% of small businesses recorded cyber attacks between April 2022 and April 2023.
  •  In medium and large businesses, the threats are more frequent, with stats showing 59% of medium businesses, and 69% of large businesses recording attacks over the same time period.

Among those identifying breaches or attacks, it is estimated that the single most disruptive breach from the last 12 months cost each business, of any size, ‘an average of approximately £1,100. For medium and large businesses, this was approximately £4,960’ [1], further emphasising the urgency for robust cybersecurity. These figures do not account for the man hours spent rectifying a security breach or attack each time it happens.

Unfortunately, SME’s are often vulnerable to cyber criminals as they have less security due to limited budget. For instance, ‘the average cybersecurity budget for a small business is set to halve in 2023 despite four in five (79%) SMEs having experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months [throughout 2022] [2].’ Attacks can be devastating, resulting in anything from destroying vital systems and leaking confidential customer information to demanding significant ransom payments. In most cases, they end up costing a significant amount of money and resources. Furthermore, ‘SMEs will spend an average of around £50,000 on cybersecurity over the next year, compared to around £100,000 in 2022’ [3], highlighting that the issue at hand is more prevalent than ever.

[1] [2] [3] Cyber security breaches survey 2023 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The below graph, taken from the cyber security breaches survey, shows the main barriers to businesses when analysing at the risks associated with not having robust cyber security systems in place.

Innovative Solutions

In response to the complex challenges of cybersecurity, we are committed to providing adaptive solutions that expedite return on investment for partners and their customers.

When our partner sales teams speak to their customers they offer these key benefits:

  • The opportunity to preserve capital:  In a deal financed by capital, return on investment can take years to achieve.  Alternative payment solutions can empower businesses to assess their monthly budget rather than their capital. Utilising this means that a business can acquire the most up to date cybersecurity technology, ensuring they do not lose out on potential business.
  • The ability to increase business safety, virtually and financially:  Through our payment solutions, businesses can ensure timely upgrades to the latest systems, reducing the risk of being hacked by the increasingly sophisticated new cyber criminal techniques. This is all managed under a flexible monthly payment that aligns with their budget.
  • Protection against price hikes and fluctuations whilst securing credit lines: Repayments remain fixed from the point at which the contract is signed, guaranteeing stable and predictable cash-flow. It also protects the future value of an asset against inflation.
  • Reduce pressure on pricing and enables customers to focus on building their cybersecurity infrastructure: Our payment solutions are the most effective way to refocus budget onto integral internal defences.
  • Enable businesses to claim back capital allowance tax breaks: When utilising operational expenses (OPEX) you may be entitled to tax breaks*. You can find out more about this by speaking to your account manager. Saving capital is beneficial in a difficult economy and it preserves funds to accommodate to a changing financial climate. Read more here. **
  • A streamlined process in comparison to a loan: Sourcing a loan can often be a time-consuming process, furthermore it does not always guarantee fixed rates which our solutions offer.

* Disclaimer
BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions is not authorised to provide tax advice. You should consult an accountant in order to understand the tax consequences of any investment decision.

** Disclaimer
Please note, capital allowances only apply to outright or hire purchase leases. If the markets you are targeting use operating or finance leases the information will not be applicable.

 OUr Offering

We recognise that businesses require tailored solutions to address their unique cybersecurity needs. Our offerings encompass a multi-vendor approach that supports funding for a wide range of vendor software and hardware solutions:

  •  We finance transactions as small as £1,000 to over £1 million
  •  Our simple fixed-term lease agreements ensure flexibility
  •  We are dedicated to assisting with the funding of more complex Managed Service Agreements, catering to the requirements of larger customers
  • Our flexible payment solutions can cover the costs of implementation, training and consultancy fees.

Ronan Glennon, Business Manager, discusses the advantages of our flexible payment solutions:

Our portfolio is constantly expanding to accommodate new cybersecurity threats.  As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated so do the solutions we offer.”

James Levitton, ICT Business Development Manager, highlights the importance of maintaining consistent cybersecurity defences:

Cybersecurity is not a one-time investment; it’s an ongoing commitment. Through our payment solutions, businesses can acquire cyber technology, which provides the agility to respond to emerging threats and keep their defences strong.”

Trustworthy cybersecurity systems are the cornerstone of client acquisition and retention. Our solutions bridge the gap between security needs and financial constraints, empowering sales teams to drive growth and customers to invest in critical technology

 

contact us for more INFORMATION

To explore how our solutions can empower your business, we encourage you to connect with Ronan Glennon and James Levitton.

Together, we can take proactive measures to secure the safety of critical data.

Contact James Levitton
ICT Business Development Manager

Contact Ronan Glennon
Business Manager

enquiryWe are committed to your business growth.

Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

Software is a vital part of every firm’s professional arsenal; the right software can increase efficiency across all business departments. Business intelligence software can help to identify new sales opportunities; HR software can automate the management of staff; and accounting software can handle payroll and help comply with legislation. In an ever-evolving tech landscape it is imperative for customers to obtain access to the software they need. Software finance is a smart cash alternative that offers a range of advantages. In this article, we’ll break down the benefits that leasing software can provide to you and your customers.

WHat is Software Finance?

Upgrading to a more sophisticated software system often means that businesses will be met with large upfront costs. Putting off such purchases can have a detrimental impact on business growth and profit margins. However, when software is obtained on finance, it enables customers to spread the cost of software acquisitions over the software license period. In simple terms, as the lessor, we pay for the initial cost of the software license. This enables the customer to use the software and repay the lessor by way of monthly or quarterly rental payments for a predefined period.

What are the Benefits Of Leasing?

Over time, software can become outdated as technology continues to advance rapidly.  Financing software enables your customers access to the latest software applications to accelerate digital transformation and maximise operational efficiencies. It offers business customers scalability, irrespective of their size through the ability to acquire additional software licences for a fixed monthly budget, allowing enterprises to stay ahead of the competition without a massive capital spend. With leasing, it’s easy to manage upgrades when your IT systems become obsolete. There’s no need for expensive maintenance costs or downtime due to breakdowns.

The Benefits of Working With LSUK

At Leasing Solutions UK we’re proud to offer a range of benefits to our partners.

As part of the banking group BNP Paribas, we are a trusted partner with a wide range of financial products and expertise in the ICT market.

ICT Sales Director, Michelle Clark, has shared what you can expect upon partnering with us:

“Our software finance offering has enabled our partners to sell more during uncertain times by helping their customers to manage budgetary constraints, reserve capital and continue to transform their businesses.”

Our aim is to empower you to needs of your customer, without compromise. Our solutions are innovative, tailor-made and dedicated to your markets and your clients.

Digital Tools:

Upon partnering with us you’ll be granted access to our digital tools that enable you to track and oversee your documents, alongside support from our responsive teams.

Lifecycle Solutions:

In 2021 approx. 1000 laptops per second went to Landfill. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream, with 59.4 million tonnes of e-waste predicted to go to landfill in 2022.

We are mindful of the lifecycle of the products we lease. Our joint venture, BNP Paribas 3 Step IT, will buy customers old IT devices, and refurbish them for reuse to ultimately avoid sending them to landfill.

Research shows that 64% of customers want companies to take a stand on issues like sustainability. BNP Paribas 3 Step IT help customers do this by refurbishing old IT for reuse and only recycling when absolutely necessary. This is one of the ways we can help support customers ambitions to do something about their e-waste.

enquiryWe are committed to your business growth.

Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

For customers with a tax year ending on 31st March, the time to review capital equipment expenditure for the current financial year is now. This will include most sole traders and individuals trading within a partnership. There is, however, a need to act fast. There are two generous capital allowance schemes available under a hire purchase agreement. In order to qualify, any equipment concerned must be on site and available for use within the financial year in which the allowance is claimed.

For those businesses in the final quarter of their financial year, the two allowances referred to above enable the full capital allowance of a newly acquired asset to be offset against tax in this financial year. The added benefit is that, under a hire purchase agreement, payment for the equipment concerned can be spread over a number of future years. The two schemes are:

 

Annual Investment Allowance

 

A capital allowance equating to 100% of the cost price of a qualifying asset can be claimed against tax in the year of acquisition. This allowance has a cap of £1,000,000 for the calendar year 2022. It is available on new and used equipment and can be claimed against both income and corporation tax. This means that all business trading styles can benefit from the scheme.

 

Super-Deduction

 

A capital allowance equating to 130% of the cost price of a qualifying asset can be claimed against tax in the year of acquisition. You read it correctly! This scheme allows a business to claim a tax allowance on a sum that is 30% more than the actual cost of the asset. By any standard, this is one of the most generous tax allowances ever introduced.

 

Whilst there is no cap on the amount of expenditure allowed under this scheme during 2022, the allowance can only be claimed against corporation tax. This means it is not available to sole-traders and partnerships. Unlike the annual investment allowance, super-deduction is available for new equipment only. It is also worth pointing out that it cannot be claimed in cases where assets are purchased for onward hire.

 

Cars cannot be included for either allowance, but commercial vehicles, plant and machinery all qualify, subject to the conditions described above.

 

Many businesses have a financial year ending March 2022, and this can act as a powerful and immediate incentive to bring forward capital expenditure to reduce any current tax liability. To benefit from these allowances before the end of their financial year, a business needs to ensure that any qualifying equipment, acquired by way of a hire purchase agreement, is ordered and delivered during the current quarter.

 

A hire purchase agreement allows businesses to acquire the equipment they need now and get the full benefits of the generous capital allowances currently available, without the need for a large cash outlay. In other words, businesses can get the tax allowances in their current financial year but spread the cost of purchase over a number of future years. A further point to note is that the interest element on a hire purchase agreement can also be offset against tax as a business expense. This means that for companies expecting to see an increase in corporation tax from 19% to 25% from April 2023, the real cost of any hire purchase agreement signed this year will reduce from that date.

 

In conclusion, and providing stock is available, there are many businesses that have a strong financial incentive to bring forward the acquisition of capital equipment. This means they will be able to retain cash for investment elsewhere. Capital allowances claimed now, on equipment subject to hire purchase agreements, provide the perfect solution.

 

Disclaimer
BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions is not authorised to provide tax advice. You should consult an accountant in order to understand the tax consequences of any investment decision.

Andy MilsomAndy Milsom, Head of Partner Training & Development at BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions

Andy is an experienced sales and finance professional with over 25 years’ experience in sales aid leasing. Andy is widely recognised as an expert in business finance and has in recent years focused his attention on developing partner sales teams develop an understanding of how businesses secure project financing. His training programme – Finance Unlocked – is a highly rated customisable course and is offered at no cost to partners.

If you’re interested in helping your sales team overcome finance-related hurdles during the selling cycle, please get in touch with Andy on 07966 114 243 or email here.

enquiryWe are committed to your business growth.

Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

Over recent years, professional buyers in all industries have become increasingly aware that the cost price of capital equipment should not be the main consideration when they make purchasing decisions.

The concept of total cost of ownership (TCO) is now well established, but it is worth reminding ourselves of exactly what is involved. The first step in the process of calculating a TCO is deciding how long a company intends to keep the equipment being acquired. This is known by some as the investment period and once decided, it is then a case of looking at all of the costs involved in acquiring and running the equipment over that period of time.

Annual Investment Allowance 2019

The main questions any buyer will need to address are:

1. Do we need to retain existing equipment or invest in a new solution?
2. If the answer is to invest in a new solution, then what should that solution be and which manufacturers and resellers will provide this?

In answering the first question, an analysis of the costs involved in retaining old equipment needs to be compared with the costs involved in any potential replacement. One key consideration in the ‘retain or replace’ dilemma is estimating the business impact if the IT network were to malfunction. Downtime costs can be significant and is one of the hidden costs of ownership. Buyers should give full consideration to the quality of service available from different manufacturers and their re-seller networks.

Once an investment period has been agreed, it becomes a case of ensuring all costs associated with buying and most importantly, running alternative solutions, is taken into account. These include some or all of the following:

  • Purchase price
  • Installation and set-up
  • Preventative maintenance
  • Software support
  • Hosting
  • Repair
  • Training
  • Consumables

Once a full TCO analysis has been completed it often becomes apparent that the purchase price of equipment is not necessarily the largest part of all the costs involved. Indeed the whole point of any TCO analysis is to assess all costs over an investment period. Most costs are paid with use (consumables, hosting, service contracts etc.). Given that a key feature of a leasing agreement is that payments are normally spread evenly over an investment period, a TCO analysis should lead a buyer to favour this method of acquisition. After all, why pay ‘up front’ for something that will be used for the next three to five years when all other costs are paid with use?

A TCO analysis applied solely to leasing might also show that the real cost of leasing is less than the sum of payments made during an agreement. There is a cost to having money tied up in capital equipment and any company should consider the return that might be available on that cash if they chose a leasing option. Furthermore, leasing is treated as a normal business expense for tax purposes which means for any company paying Corporation Tax the real cost of rentals paid will be reduced by 19% (The Corporation Tax rate applicable for fiscal year 2018/2019).

Another important consideration for any organisation reliant on IT, which let’s face it is every organisation, is that hardware and software suitability will be subject to continual review. With advances in technology generally leading to regular additions and replacements, leasing products within the ICT market are designed to facilitate such needs by offering a range of alternatives to accommodate every type of system upgrade.

Once a customer has chosen to lease as a method of acquiring a new IT solution they will find that a wide range of contract lengths and payment terms will be available, at least one of which should suit any budgetary requirement.

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Andy MilsomAndy Milsom, Head of Partner Training & Development at BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions

Andy is an experienced sales and finance professional with over 25 years’ experience in sales aid leasing. Andy is widely recognised as an expert in business finance and has in recent years focused his attention on developing partner sales teams develop an understanding of how businesses secure project financing. His training programme – Finance Unlocked – is a highly rated customisable course and is offered at no cost to partners.

If you’re interested in helping your sales team overcome finance-related hurdles during the selling cycle, please get in touch with Andy on 07966 114 243 or email here.

enquiryWe are committed to your business growth.

Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK, the leasing and finance solutions specialist, has announced the appointment of Graham Drew, Bernard Saikalis and Matt Dredger as Business Development Managers within its ICT finance division.

BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions specialises in leasing finance for professional ICT equipment, offered through its partner network comprising of leading manufacturers, distributors and resellers.

In his role as Business Development Manager, Dredger brings with him almost three decades of experience in the leasing industry. Over his career, Dredger has worked for businesses including Forward Trust, Lombard, ECS and 3 Step IT. He joins BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions from his own successful company, Borroclub, an online peer-to-peer sharing platform, where he was Founder and Director.

Saikalis joins the team from Close Brothers Technology Services where he held the position of Relationship Director. He also previously held Area Finance Manager positions at De Lage London and Syscap Group, where he launched the Autodesk finance program in the UK, and the Infor program in France.

With a career in the asset finance industry spanning over two-decades, Drew joins the business from Value Add Finance, a business he established last year. Prior to this, Drew has held positions at businesses including Shawbrook Bank, Credit Suisse Securities and De Lage Landen where he was European Sales Director.

As Business Development Managers, Dredger, Saikalis and Drew will be responsible for new partner recruitment in the tech sector and enabling BNP Paribas’ extensive network to make leasing an integral part of the sales process.

Martin Ardern, ICT Sales Director of BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK, said:

Our ICT team is going through a period of rapid growth and it is my pleasure to be able to welcome Matt, Bernard and Graham on board.

Each of them brings decades of experience in the asset finance and leasing industry to the role and I believe they will be instrumental in helping us achieve our ambitious growth plans.

ICT finance is a solution that is empowering businesses across the country to stay ahead of the curve, maximise productivity and compete on a global scale.

enquiryWe are committed to your business growth.

Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

By Jean-Michel Boyer, CEO, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK

Subscription-based payment models, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions offered by vendors such as Adobe and Salesforce.com, are increasingly favoured by businesses because they enable cost-efficient and flexible access to critical assets. Leasing offers customers a similar experience, enabling them to scale their operations without compromising budgets.

That’s why IT leasing is a growing market in the UK. According to the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), in June 2017, new business for IT equipment finance increased 17% compared to the previous year. Businesses are realising that leasing hardware and software, rather than buying it outright, offers them affordable and sustainable benefits.

These benefits extend not only to business end-users, but also IT suppliers and resellers, the environment, and the wider economy.

Benefits of leasing for businesses

As businesses expand, they typically outgrow their existing technologies and therefore need to reconsider their IT infrastructures. However, many growing businesses are challenged by limited access to disposable funds.

Flexible procurement solutions, like leasing, can give them the freedom to access the technology they need without breaking the bank – while also preventing them from being stuck with obsolete or inadequate equipment. Instead, vital cash reserves can be put towards strategic business investment. Within a leasing agreement, regular, fixed payments over a defined contract period also protect these businesses from inflation and other unexpected costs.

Many IT leasing solutions also have the added benefit of factoring in soft costs such as implementation, training and ongoing maintenance for further convenience and budget certainty.

Benefits for resellers

Not all resellers are able to offer their customers a subscription-style contract given the obvious need to optimise cashflow. By partnering with a finance provider, resellers can bridge this issue, by enabling them to lease solutions to their customers but still receive full invoice payment upfront. This means the reseller can recognise revenue immediately whilst the customer benefits from a subscription-style agreement.

IT leasing helps resellers win and retain more customers. Flexible payment terms are in demand: the FLA figures show that more and more businesses within the UK are using finance to procure their IT solutions.

To meet this demand and maintain their competitive position, resellers should integrate leasing solutions into their sales process and encourage their customers to review all their buying options. A leasing contract also encourages the reseller to forge a closer relationship with the customer over time by providing not only physical assets, but also value-add services such as set-up and implementation, consultancy, maintenance and training for staff. This, in turn, creates a more likely environment for repeat business and helps resellers stand out from their competitors.  

Encouraging sustainability

In addition to supporting the economy and business growth, leasing also has a long-term, positive impact on the environment. Since, in an IT leasing arrangement, the finance provider retains ownership of the assets, it has final control over environmentally responsible disposal of the equipment.

This not only removes the burden of ownership and disposal from the business end-user, it also encourages faster adoption of the ‘circular economy’, an alternative economic model which is guided by three actions: repair, reuse and remanufacture. Simply put, in a world that is vulnerable to growing resource scarcity, the ‘circular economy’ aims to eliminate waste. 

Ultimately, with the right finance provider on board, IT leasing represents a win-win solution for everyone.

We are committed to your business growth. Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

Our CEO, Jean-Michel Boyer, recently spoke to Microscope to describe how IT resellers can benefit by integrating lease finance into their sales process.

Credit is still vital if the channel and its customers are going to reach their full growth potential.

A recent survey revealed a third of SMEs in the IT sector have missed out on business opportunities because of a lack of finance. Distributors have long been a major source of credit for SME resellers but with consolidation taking place in distribution through mergers and acquisitions, the sources of credit available to resellers are being reduced.

Can those distributors left standing do more for SME resellers? And what other options are available if they don’t?

One distributor that has publicly taken the initiative on credit is Exertis. The company recently introduced a programme called Credit Xtra with the intention of doubling the credit limit for more than 1,650 of its SMB accounts. There is also the option to increase the limit further if resellers remain within the distributor’s credit terms.

Mark Reynolds, sales and commercial director at Exertis IT, claims it has “already been able to provide an additional £4.2 million of credit to resellers to enable them to resource their business and service their customers with IT solutions”. He adds that the distributor expects the programme “to offer well in excess of £20 million of additional credit as it progresses”.

He says the Credit Xtra programme is underpinned by the “financial strength and stability” of the distributor and its parent company DCC, and its relationship with Chubb, one of the world’s largest publically traded insurers. Under the scheme, resellers have a dedicated account manager to handle their credit enquiries and can take advantage of flexible customer payment terms, as well as variable payment methods, such as direct debit.

In addition, Exertis can also direct resellers to credit services provided by vendors and can also offer additional leasing options.

While it’s not uncommon for distributors to announce an increase in credit available to their resellers, doubling the amount demonstrates a strong degree of confidence in the future growth potential of SMB resellers.

The Exertis initiative follows a similar move on credit by Tech Data last summer, as the distributor’s UK & Ireland group marketing director Andy Dow explains. “The need for more credit among SMB resellers has been quite obvious for some time – we saw it building up last summer in fact and we put an additional £150 million of credit into the market in June last year,” he says. Resellers were quick to take advantage – especially SMB resellers. “Extended credit lines were provided to more than 4000 of our customers (the extra credit was applied to the accounts of frequent customers automatically) and they have continued to take advantage of the added flexibility those facilities give them to drive sales and business growth.”

Dow believes that it is especially important to offer extra credit at this time of year, when resellers are targeting the peak summertime buying period in education. The distributor has provided extended payment terms to resellers selling to education because schools often need a little more time to process payments, due to the summer break. “We do that every year and it’s extremely popular,” he adds.

According to Dow, more resellers are also taking advantage of Tech Data’s Credit Elevator scheme, which allows them to increase their limit from £5,000 to as much as £300,000 over an 18-month period, provided they meet the spending and payment conditions.

Another option resellers might consider is leasing. This is nothing new, but it’s not something that has gained much traction in the channel over the years, as Jean-Michel Boyer, CEO at BNP Paribas Leasing Solution UK, freely accepts. “Leasing penetration is low in the IT sector,” he admits.

But he argues resellers that lead with leasing by integrating a finance option in to their selling process benefit in two ways. Firstly, in the world of pay-per-month and subscription,

“leasing is a great way to offer customers access to essential technology in an opex manner”.

Payments for the customer are fixed throughout the lease period, which provides certainty and budget predictability – “a comfort much needed in the context of fluctuating currency rates and manufacturer prices”, Boyer notes.

Equally important to a reseller is a reduction in ‘debtor days’ or ‘days sales outstanding’. Typically, SME resellers are forced to wait 40 to 50 days before invoices are paid “which can have a huge (and detrimental) impact on cashflow”. With leasing, when a sale is concluded, the finance company often remits the balance of the invoice within 24 hours of the reseller sending it in.

“This change is a transformational shift which allows the reseller to pursue new opportunities and helps to release extended credit lines from distributors,” he argues.

All of which is true but, to a large extent, many resellers have proven resistant to the attractions of leasing over the years, despite the best efforts of leasing firms to engage with them.

The importance of credit extends beyond the reseller to the customer. As Angus Dent, CEO at peer-to-peer business lending provider ArchOver argues, many tech start-ups that could go on to become the innovative giants of tomorrow “need access to a community of SME resellers and partners that can support expansion and growth”. To fund that growth, SME resellers need access to credit.

“Instead of being held to ransom by distributors, there need to be other funding options available for them to achieve their goals and strengthen their independence,” Dent declares.

Unsurprisingly, he is keen to highlight the benefits of P2P lending, a relatively new phenomenon in the world of financing. “Peer-to-peer lending can provide SME resellers with quick access to the funds they need to boost their growth,” Dent claims. “Rather than having to navigate complex contractual negotiations in return for credit from distributors, SMEs can go to independent investors who can provide them with the cash they need.”

He argues this give resellers  “the freedom to go after new opportunities and ensure a steady cash flow from month-to-month, without jeopardising their essential distributor relationships. When distributor credit isn’t enough, or isn’t forthcoming, alternative finance holds the key to continued growth – credit isn’t the only way”.

We are committed to your business growth. Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

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Media contact

Suhale Vorajee
Head of Marketing and Communications
BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK

T: 01179 100 895
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‘A Guide to Software as a Service for the IT Channel’ is designed to help businesses like yours learn how to sell SaaS to your customers.

SaaS is a critical area within the global enterprise market, and one that’s worth paying close attention to: by 2018, it’s expected to exceed $50.8 billion in revenue – 27.8% of the worldwide enterprise applications market. For better or worse, it will affect your business.

In our new guide to navigating the burgeoning SaaS market, you’ll learn:

  • Why SaaS is gaining traction – at the expense of conventional Software-as-a-Product solutions.
  • How the evolving SaaS market reflects a wider transition from ownership to access of products.
  • The benefits SaaS offers the IT channel and its customers
  • How finance can help you transition to a subscription-based payment model whilst keeping your cash flow optimised.
  • What the future holds for SaaS – and how your company can be part of it.

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To find out more about how to sell SaaS, download our eBook by completing the form below.

Ethically disposing of IT waste is not only becoming a must, but a big business. Billy MacInnes looks into how the channel can get involved.

Disposal or recovery of IT assets has become increasingly important to customers as they refresh technology and retire old machines and technology. It’s also big business, with a report by MarketsandMarkets predicting the global IT asset disposition (ITAD) market will grow from $10.12bn in 2015 to $20.9bn by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 10%.

In another report, Transparency Market Research predicts the ITAD market will be worth slightly less at $18.18bn by 2024. But it stresses that ITAD is becoming integral to companies because the changing IT landscape, including the evolution of cognitive computing, cloud computing, big data analytics and the internet of things (IoT), “has created a mammoth problem of mounting e-waste”.

The company notes ITAD is “increasingly being adopted by companies worldwide to manage this waste disposal, minimise the risk of data loss and the subsequent monetary loss. With a range of services such as recycling, recovery, data sanitisation or data destruction, among others, the ITAD market has carved a sizeable niche for itself”. Many vendors have their own asset recovery businesses that offer a number of services, such as disposal, recycling, resale, buyback and data destruction. Vendors such as IBM and Dell will manage the disposal of assets in accordance with all applicable regulations and dismantle, recycle and dispose of products with no market value. Those products that retain some value can either be bought back (IBM) or resold (Dell). In either instance, data on the equipment will be erased.

But is there a role for the channel in this pro­cess? The answer would appear to be “yes”. When Toshiba recently launched an asset recovery pro­gramme, it suggested the scheme could provide partners with another opportunity to engage with customers by encouraging them to think about their end-of-life hardware plans. It might also ena­ble them to add extra support for small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers concerned about getting rid of devices that could contain sensitive data.

One business that straddles the vendor/partner divide and is in a good position to comment on the IT disposal process is Stone Group. Gary Buxton, group operations director, says the company collects end-of-life IT assets from customers “free of charge” and securely erases data-bearing hardware. It helps users realise any residual value in any kit we take back and provides a full audit report and certificate of disposals for complete traceability.

Buxton says IT disposal is becoming a significant issue for many customers. “There are endless reasons why disposing of end-of-life IT assets properly is incredibly impor­tant to customers,” says Buxton, “not least because compliance with the Data Protection Act is essen­tial to avoid hefty fines of up to £500,000.”

When the Data Protection Act is replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, the rules will become more strin­gent and the penalties will increase to as much as €20m. As well as higher fines, the GDPR will introduce other changes that companies need to be aware of.

Buxton says while it’s currently good practice to show due dili­gence when choosing an IT recycling partner, there’s currently no obligation to have a contract in place with your chosen data pro­cessor. “But under GDPR, it will be illegal to not have a formal con­tract or service level agreement (SLA) in place with your chosen partner,” he adds. The GDPR will also make it a criminal offence to choose an IT recycling partner/data processor that doesn’t hold the minimum competencies and accreditations for IT asset dis­posal. “With these kind of regulations and penalties, we’re finding customers want the reassurance of knowing their IT assets will be disposed of correctly,” says Buxton. “While they can arrange this themselves, it’s one less thing for them to think about if their supplier can handle it for them.”

He says resellers should be aware that offering recycling ser­vices can be an attraction to public sector customers. “With more and more pressure on public sector organisations to become sus­tainable, recycling helps them extract value from any reusable kit and get income to spend on new projects that will help them move forward,” says Buxton. “From this perspective, it makes sense if recycling is part of the deal offered by resellers.”

Data erasure or destruction is highlighted by a number of organisations as of particular importance to customers during the disposal process. “Data erasure at the point of IT disposal is one of the most overlooked aspects of data security,” says Richard Stiennon, chief strategy officer at Blancco Technology Group. “It’s unbelievable how many organisations of all sizes simply allow sensitive information to walk out of the door when retiring old machines and technology.”

The problem is that many organisations “just assume some­body else further up the chain will handle this on their behalf and their processes will be fit for purpose”. But unless they are deal­ing with certified ITADs, that rarely proves to be the case, says Stiennon. “Channel partners have a major role to play in educat­ing customers and raising awareness of the security risks that aren’t being adequately addressed. They’re the ones that speak directly to users in the midst of a technology refresh and are often tasked with the decommissioning of end-of-life assets,” he adds.

Stiennon urges partners to encourage customers to follow relevant guidelines set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), such as ISO/IEC 27001, which includes guidelines for secure asset disposal and data erasure, as well as ISO/IEC 27018, a code of practice for protection of personally iden­tifiable information (PII) in public clouds acting as PII processors.

Ann Sellar, secure destruction expert at Crown Records Management, agrees that ensuring the data held on devices is securely destroyed is a major issue. “Taking a hammer to it and releasing your stress is not good enough – even this tactic doesn’t ensure the information cannot be retrieved again,” she warns.

It pays for resellers and their customers to deal with a specialist because wiping and reselling items is also a concern – research has shown half the laptops and PCs sold online still contain sensitive information, she says, pointing out that the only way to guarantee the information has been destroyed is to use a reliable company that collects these items, destroys them securely and provides a certificate of destruction which completes the audit trail.

One way to avoid some of the hassle associated with IT disposal could be through leasing. “Disposing of IT equipment can be a costly and time-consuming hassle for customers,” says Tristan Watkins, UK CEO at BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions. “Companies must legally abide by the WEEE [Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment] Directive or risk being fined for non-compliance. They have a corporate responsibility to re-use or recycle where possible, or dispose of waste IT equipment ethically.”

Leasing IT equipment can help in this respect. “Typically, at the end of a lease agreement, the equipment is returned to the finance provider which must ensure it is disposed of in a manner that meets regulatory requirements. This is an attractive option to equipment users who are relieved of the disposal responsibil­ity,” says Watkins.

As for channel partners, leasing could open up lines of revenue in the form of refresh and resell to a different customer while upgrading the existing customer to another solution.

By Tristan Watkins, CEO, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK

The appetite for IT leasing is growing. The Finance Leasing Association (FLA) reports that IT financing in the UK reached a total of £2.2bn in 2015, up 38 percent from the previous year. As businesses increasingly realise the sustainable and cost-effective benefits of leasing hardware and software rather than buying it outright, industry results for 2016 are expected to be similarly buoyant. 

Access over ownership

There is increasing demand in the data centre industry for more flexible procurement solutions. As businesses grow, their IT needs also change. With the growth in storage volume capacities and the growth in data communications going through private data centres, businesses may need to rethink their solutions. With technology finance, they can choose which part of their technology is still fit for purpose, or what they need to replace, and wrap the new solution cost up into a budget-friendly payment plan. This flexibility provides easier and affordable access to new equipment which helps businesses scale their operations to meet their needs.

Leasing data centre technology helps businesses stay in control of their refresh cycle with regular payments and fixed prices over the term of the contract. Inflation does not affect the monthly repayments for the duration of the lease contract.

By leasing rather than owning the technology, businesses can maximise their budget potential and invest in the equipment they need when they need it. With manageable regular repayments, there is no need to compromise on a data centre proposal and vital cash reserves can be put towards strategic business growth.

The wider economy and environment benefit too

Flexible finance enables businesses to access the assets they need to grow their operations successfully. SME businesses in particular can struggle to access critical funding for their business through traditional means such as a bank loan. Leasing enables them invest in the right data centre solution for their business without breaking the budget.

IT leasing contracts also remove the burden of end-of-life disposal from the end-user and enable responsible reuse, recycling or environmentally friendly disposal. Leasing can therefore help facilitate wider and faster adoption of the ‘circular economy’. This concept is built on three main tenets: repair, reuse and remanufacture and its aim is to eliminate waste and provide a workable solution to growing resource scarcity.

A shift to access rather than ownership makes this possible as the finance provider retains ownership of the equipment, has control over what happens to it at the end of the lease and can manage its disposal in a responsible way as well as overseeing a full data wipe.

The role of resellers

As the FLA figures show, more and more businesses within the UK are using finance to procure their IT solutions. That said, businesses are more familiar with the ‘X As a Service’ model than leasing. ‘X as a service’ is a subscription style deal that gives the customer access to a product for a low monthly fee, with ‘X’ standing for anything from software to hardware and infrastructure. However, not all resellers are equipped to offer customers a XaaS model that collects revenue on a monthly basis rather than in one upfront sum. Leasing can help bridge the cash flow gap for resellers and allow businesses to deploy almost any aspect of their technology needs whilst enjoying the same benefits as the XaaS model.

To help businesses enjoy similar benefits to those that the subscription model offers, technology resellers should integrate leasing solutions in their sales process and encourage businesses to consider all their finance options. The fact that many storage and server manufacturers have their own in-house finance providers shows that there is demand for solutions other than cash sales.

Data centre resellers often make the mistake of assuming that there is little to no demand among businesses for efficient IT hardware payment solutions. The reality is though, that many companies struggle to secure finance upfront to access the hardware they need. As a result, they have to settle for a watered down solution that fits their restricted budget capacity. They then have to wait for the next financial year for a new budget to be released that will potentially allow them to invest more. Selling with finance also helps build constructive relationships between reseller and customer, making repeat business more likely.

In our experience, many IT procurement managers are unaware of the flexible finance options available to them and don’t realise that leasing solutions encompassing hardware, software, consultancy, project management and training are available to help them phase in a multi-year or multi-site implementation. With more education and awareness as to the benefits and extent of IT leasing, both end-users and vendors will be able to hone their competitive edge and successfully scale their businesses.

We are committed to your business growth. Our competitive finance solutions can help you capitalise on new opportunities in the IT sector. Contact us today to discuss your needs with a member of our team.

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Suhale Vorajee
Head of Marketing and Communications
BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK

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