By Tristan Watkins, CEO, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions UK
The modern marketplace of goods and services no longer demands outright product ownership. Consumers can enjoy the latest mobile phones, movies and cars without committing to a purchase. Given how fast technology improves and updates, it’s completely understandable. No one wants to get stuck with a device that is obsolete before it’s delivered a full return on investment. Rather, you want to pay for what you use and then upgrade when the next model becomes available, or your needs change.
We call this the age of the ‘subscription economy’, and businesses are taking advantage too by leasing software and hardware from resellers instead of buying it. But what about technologies like cloud storage, IoT and robots? Leasing IT infrastructure can extend to almost anything that adds value to your business.
Here are five technologies you might not have realised you can lease:
Leasing hardware such as desktop computers, servers and printers is actually becoming an increasingly popular option, giving businesses access to the latest technology without tying up cash that can be spent on growing other areas of the business. When the servers need replacing within a couple years, or if your needs change, you can upgrade, often at little extra cost. What’s more, there’s no need to worry about disposing of the old equipment, as you can return the unwanted hardware to the vendor.
By this we mean intelligent machines that perform a variety of professional tasks that are usually time-consuming or repetitive. Use of robots is increasing across a range of industries, from manufacturing to medical; the latter benefitting particularly from robotic assistance in performing minimally invasive surgeries.
The demand for service robots is growing, however their cost prevents many small to medium enterprises from adopting the technology. Vendors have started offering robots on lease, allowing your business to improve its productivity at minimal expense.
3. Electronic or interactive whiteboards
An electronic whiteboard can make a meeting or presentation much more interactive and interesting. What’s more, all the notes, files and addendums can be saved and stored for general access on your company’s server.
As the equipment can be expensive and may require regular maintenance, you would do better to lease use of it, rather than own it outright and be responsible for its upkeep.
4. Business software
Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming a preferred alternative to the more traditional Software as a Product (SaaP). Once again, popularity is linked to the cost benefits of leasing the software you need, rather than owning more than you use.
Most vendors and resellers will offer flexible arrangements that have training programmes, maintenance and upgrades built into the leasing deal too.
5. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Businesses are enthusiastic about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential to increase profits and productivity. Perceived cost though, is hampering wide-scale implementation and some companies are choosing to wait until the technology becomes more affordable. One study predicts a 10% gulf in profits between IoT-enabled companies and those that aren’t over the next ten years – businesses that don’t adopt soon will be at a competitive disadvantage.
Businesses are increasingly choosing the subscription or ‘pay per use’ model as a means of gaining access to critical goods and services. Not all of the products listed above are available on a subscription basis – but they can be leased. Leasing offers the same benefits, providing affordable access to the latest technologies with flexible terms for upgrading as your company’s needs change. According to research from The Economist Intelligence Unit/Gartner, 38% of B2B buyers say they prefer subscription rather than purchase, suggesting that outright ownership could soon become an outdated model. As access to the latest technology becomes increasingly crucial, businesses can get ahead by leasing, rather than purchasing, new equipment.