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Cloud spending on the rise

According to a recent report published by the International Data Corporation (IDC), cloud spending represented nearly 30% of overall IT infrastructure spend during Q1 2015, rising from 26.4% during Q1 2014.

The market research firm found that vendor sales of private and public cloud infrastructure – including storage, servers and Ethernet switches – grew by a staggering 25.1% year-on-year during Q1 to reach almost $6.3bn (£4.02bn), CRN news reports.

Private cloud spending grew 24.4% to $2.4bn during Q1, while public cloud spending increased by 25.5% to $3.9bn. Kuba Stolarski, research manager of server, virtualization and workload research at IDC said the rise in cloud spending suggests that “customers are open to a broad array of hybrid deployment scenarios as they modernise their IT for the third platform, begin to deploy next-generation software solutions, and embrace modern management processes that enable agile, flexible, and extensible cloud platforms.”

In its Worldwide Quarterly Cloud Infrastructure Tracker report, IDC predicts that overall cloud infrastructure spend will rise by 26.4% this year, reaching £33.4bn and representing one third of overall IT spend. In particular, public cloud spend will grow by 32.2% year-on-year to $21.7bn, while private cloud spend will increase by 16.8% to $11.7bn.

IDC forecasts that cloud spending will rocket over the next five years and will account for nearly half (46.5%) of all IT infrastructure spending by 2019, reaching $54.5bn.

Meanwhile, according to Computerworld’s annual forecast survey, 43% of firms plan to increase their overall IT budgets this year, by an average of 13%. A total of 194 IT professionals were polled for the survey, with 40% stating that cloud computing will take the lion’s share of their budget increase, closely followed by software as a service (SaaS).

Cloud computing was rated as the most important consideration among IT departments this year, cited by 16%. Firms which have already adopted cloud strategies will this year seek to streamline services and improve functionality in order to reap the full benefits of the cloud.

Syscap can provide flexible finance plans for businesses looking to invest in new technologies, and can fund a number of aspects in one comprehensive payment plan including hardware, software, cloud based and subscriptions as well as training, installation and maintenance. To find out more about how Syscap can help to support your business’ technology ambitions, click here or contact us today.

Happy Birthday to Syscap! 25 years old!

There’s certainly cause for celebration this week, as Syscap officially turns 25 years old! We’re extremely excited to reach this milestone and as our birthday approaches, we’ve been reflecting on how far our company has come since its inception in 1990. We have been thinking back to all our major achievements, and to the challenges we’ve faced and managed to overcome.

Over the years, we’ve tapped into new markets, extended our services and acquired new businesses. We’ve experienced buyouts and major reshuffles to our infrastructure; we also fell head first into the economic crash and came out the other side. Yet, through it all, our principles and values have remained the same – perhaps that’s why we’re still here today.

At the start

When we first entered the market, the technology landscape was drastically different to how it is today. It was rapidly evolving and much of the demand was driven by SMEs. However, the challenge those small businesses faced was the high level of investment needed for technology. Many businesses couldn’t afford paying in full for tech, and banks didn’t make it easy for them to acquire finance. And so, we saw an opportunity.

From the offset, our value proposition has been the same: leasing made easy. We saw huge benefits in this model – a high-touch, value-driven engagement model. Banks didn’t understand the IT channel, the SME or technology markets, but we could provide that level of knowledge and expertise needed.

At this time, we were a modest business that had limited access to capital, and we didn’t want to take any real commercial risk. Our next safe bet was focusing on areas of commercial growth, which resulted in us embarking on our most successful industry-leading campaign to date. Coinciding with the release of the Labour Party manifesto, we spent 12 months researching how technology could be effectively implemented into UK schools, and it wasn’t long before we became a trusted advisor to the education sector.

Into the new millennium

Entering the start of the millennium with confidence, we decided to extend our services to offer IT finance solutions for paper and medical professions. We researched thoroughly in order to understand why the sectors invested in technology and how we could extract value from the marketplace. To aid our efforts, we acquired Professional Finance and Leasing; a company with deep-domain knowledge of funding technology in our target sectors.

Offering these services proved incredibly successful and Syscap was growing year-on-year. We became specialists in our field and had three main competences: finance experience, IT and technology experience, and vertical market experience.

Yet, we still felt that we didn’t have enough access to capital, and we needed increased support in our back office infrastructure. So, after much deliberation, in 2006 we underwent a management buyout from AnaCap. The fund, which was new with no investors, was committed to financial services and concerned with operational management: it was the perfect choice for us. The company helped us to transition and in 2008, we had our best trading year to-date. But then, the business world imploded.

Hitting the credit crunch

The economic downturn was extremely hard for us and we were forced to make some tough decisions, cutting our workforce by over 30% over a 15 month period. However, then and now, our company is blessed with some of the most talented employees in our industry. It is not only their skill, but their ethics and camaraderie that pulled the company through its darkest days.

We managed to pick ourselves up in the years that followed. Some services fell by the wayside, while others remained stable. In 2010 we acquired Exclusive Benefits Ltd, a specialist commercial finance provider with extensive experience in the professions sector. This improved our access to funding and allowed us to move through into 2010 and beyond.

The here and now

Fast forward to 2014 and we fulfilled our potential for further investment and access to capital. Last autumn, we started a review for exiting our investors, knowing that we needed to partner with a company that had proven access to funding on a quantum scale.  So, in February this year, Syscap was officially acquired by Wesleyan Group.

Wesleyan was the perfect choice for us: established in 1841, the company has proven vertical market knowledge and £6 billion worth of assets under management. Wesleyan felt that its company’s values were culturally aligned with our own; it wanted to invest in long-term growth and not short-term gain. The services we offer are different, which means we can leverage their expertise and combine it with our own to provide our customers with exceptional service.

Following the acquisition, we can’t help but feel extremely optimistic about the future. We’re looking past today and tomorrow and planning for the long-term. Through the hard work and dedication of our employees, and loyalty of our customers, Syscap is liberated to move forward. Here’s to many more happy birthdays!

Software isn’t as easy as it looks

When it comes to IT investment, many SMEs view software as somewhat inferior to, or less valuable than, hardware. These businesses allocate large portions of their IT budgets to purchasing tangible hardware products, often neglecting software investment in the process.

However, contrary to popular belief, software is just as important as IT hardware. Businesses must remember that quality software is needed to run their hardware, so it should be viewed as an equally worthy investment.

So, why do so many businesses prioritise hardware? Well, firstly, when businesses purchase hardware, they have visible proof of investment. Within many companies, IT managers find it easier to get approval for buying hardware, as those in control of the budget often want to see physical proof of where the money went. There is also a common misconception that software is ‘simpler’ to create: if software such as apps can be created from a bedroom, then why does it deserve such a significant investment?

Software includes everything from operating systems and application servers, to databases and apps. In reality, the software market is extremely sophisticated and complex; programs require a huge amount of time, money and effort to create.

Not making timely investment in software could negatively impact your business. For example, delaying necessary software upgrades and using outdated systems will inevitably result in increased costs in the long term. What’s more, using older software could affect staff productivity and pose a security risk.

There is no doubt that software delivers good business value. Companies must understand that business value is created through investing in exactly what their business needs, and not just cheaper alternatives.

Companies often struggle securing a finance package for their IT investments, as many funding houses only provide financing for hardware and not the intangible aspect of these investments. Syscap, however, offers both hardware and software funding, allowing you to purchase the technology you need today. Not only that, but Syscap can also provide funding for subscription services, support and maintenance, training and installation. This allows businesses to finance the full IT solution, spreading the cost over time and maintaining working capital.

Click here to find out more about the benefits of financing your next technology solution.

UK Businesses Set To Receive IT Budget Boost

This year, UK firms are set to experience a 1.4% increase in IT budgets, a new report from Gartner has revealed. This increase is higher than the global average of 1.1%, as well as the average among US firms, which stands at 0.9%.

By comparison, Chinese firms are set for an average IT budget increase of 8.5%, which is significantly higher than both the UK and US.

A key finding from study is that there is an increasing amount of investment in IT across UK companies, with results revealing that over 21% of IT investments take place outside of the actual IT budget. Gartner polled over 2,800 respondents from 84 countries in order to compile its report.

After a long period of budget restrictions and cost-cutting, Gartner believes that a renewed focus on strategic IT investments will help to facilitate growth among UK businesses. In particular, companies in the UK and Ireland are becoming more open-minded with regard to SMART technologies; they are starting to make investment in new tools and are creating strategies which cover areas such as robotics and the Internet of Things.

Gartner predicts that UK CIOs will now dedicate less than 40% of their time to running IT departments this year. They will instead focus on spending more time with other C-suite executives, business unit leaders and external customers to “extol the values of IT and investing in the right technology,” CRN reports.

Vice President at Gartner, Dave Aron, commented that digitalisation represents both an opportunity and threat, which means that “CIOs are facing new, more challenging and more exciting circumstances as digital moves to centre stage.”

An increase in IT budgets is great news for UK businesses, as it will allow them to utilise new technologies and implement them throughout the company. Yet, despite increased budgets, IT finance can still help you to spread the cost of the full solution, including training, installation, upgrades, maintenance and support contracts. Syscap can provide you with a tailored finance solution that will enable you to get the IT technology you need today. Call one of our team members to find out more or click here.

UK’s Tech Businesses Set To Soar

2015 is predicted to see an increase in IT equipment finance, as UK tech businesses expect to grow four times quicker than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to an article on the Asset Finance International website.

Members from the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) reported 5% growth in IT equipment finance during 2014, taking the total to £1.624 billion. During the final quarter of last year, however, the pace picked up significantly: a total £570 million of IT equipment was financed, which is a 25% increase compared with the same period in 2013. It is expected that this growth will continue throughout this year and beyond.

Meanwhile, Barclays’ Fast Growth Tech survey revealed that UK tech businesses are expecting solid growth this year. After polling CEOs and owners of tech firms, the results revealed that the average company predicts 11% growth during 2015 – four times the GDP prediction for this year (2.6%).

Over half (58%) of firms expect growth of up to 10% this year, while 18% predict growth of between 10% and 20%, and 9% predict notable growth of more than 20%.

IT firms remain optimistic about the state of their business, with many expecting growth beyond 2015. The average company in the survey expects additional growth of 15% in 2016, while 16% predict growth of over 20%.

Sean Duffy, managing director of Barclays’ Technology, Media and Telecoms division, said that the growth predictions “reveal the optimism and drive of the UK’s work-leading technology sector,” before adding that the UK is a “real launch pad for innovative tech businesses.”

“Investors are seeing the UK as an international talent magnet and a platform to grow or launch their business for a number of compelling reasons, including the culture, light-touch regulation, supportive Government policies and access to finance,” he added.

When asked the reasons behind previous growth, 79% of companies cited strong leadership. Going forward, those companies saw strong leadership and a focus on marketing and advertising as both critical factors for growth.

According to the companies, the two main challenges that could impede growth are increased competition (29%) and the ability to attract and retain talented employees (25%).

How Vendor Financing Can Help You Close More Deals

There are many reasons that resellers might be interested in a finance partnership. Essentially it comes down to efficiencies; sales teams converting more deals at a higher value. A good finance provider should be a door opener to increased sales whilst at the same time providing incentives to do more business; whether financial, social, through training and promotions.

Embedding finance into the core of the sales process is key to making this happen.

If you are a vendor or reseller looking to close more deals, Syscap’s Partner Programme can help. Through our programme, you will gain access to tailored IT finance solutions, making your products easier to sell and buy.

The programme helps to give you a competitive advantage, allowing you to drive revenue and increase margins. Along with closing more deals, sale cycles will be reduced, thus making your business more efficient. Some of the programme’s benefits include:

Training

Organisations signed up with the programme have access to their own tailored suite of tools and training materials. Sales teams receive specialist training through the portal, helping them to sell better and close more deals as a result.

Rewards

Through Syscap’s S-League rewards programme, sales teams are rewarded for good performance. They are incentivised to work hard as the more deals they close, the more points they’ll earn. The best-performing individuals and companies will receive some great prizes.

Knowledge and support

By collaborating with Syscap, you will be given expert knowledge and support around the clock. You will have your own dedicated account manager and will have access to expert financial advice whenever you need it.

Syscap has access to a wide range of funding panels, making it easier for your customers to finance IT acquisitions of all varieties and sizes. We are on hand to support you through the whole process; from helping to generate demand with bespoke marketing campaigns, to performing rapid customer credit checks so you can close the deal quicker.

Efficiency

Through our programme, you have instant access to all the necessary tools, and all in one place. You will have a single point of access to a range of funding options, which will enable you to easily create or provide IT solutions to your clients.

If you would like to find out more about the Syscap Partner Programme, click here for more information.

Syscap returning to channel heartlands

Syscap is setting out on a mission to re-engage with the channel as it looks to introduce changes to its partner programme and remind resellers that it is a source of finance.

The finance specialist has always operated with the channel but over recent years has also built up a strong presence in the legal market as well as also selling its services into the public sector.

But with its 25th anniversary looming next year the firm is going back to its roots with the aim of “going back to its heartlands, which was the IT channel,” according to Syscap head of direct sales and marketing Sean Read.

“We have the pedigree and the heritage providing finance to the IT channel,” but Read added that its focus on the legal market could have given the wrong impression it was not still determined to work with resellers.

“We want to go back to our heartland and all of the economic indices are positive and now is a good time to restate our position in that space,” he said.

As part of its efforts to increase channel business Syscap is readying the re-launch of its partner programme for a couple of weeks time and has also unveiled a fresh website and is ramping up its social media and marketing strategy.

“There will be a far greater play of our channel finance offering and we will be going back to a market we know and providing what people expect of us,” added Read.

Credit has always been a challenging proposition in the channel but Read said that it had established it worked well when it created a chance for resellers to sell more to customers, rather than just waiting for the finance conversation to come up.

“We have created the demand and understanding of what finance can do,” he added “So the reseller can go to market with finance as an integral part of the propostion.”

Written by Simon Quicke
See the press release on MicroScope here
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Late payment is a fact of life but does it have to be?

Cash flow is again top of the agenda for small businesses with a new study showing that the majority of businesses make late payments to suppliers. The Mastercard study found that a full 57% of businesses had deliberately delayed payments. You can read the full study here.

Despite 90% of businesses acknowledging that suppliers should be paid promptly, nearly three quarters of businesses admit that late payments are a fact of life. Cash hoarding has far-reaching impacts throughout the supply chain as many small businesses will know.

In recent years, the operating environment for has been difficult for all businesses. In the IT world in particular, IT resellers have been squeezed not only by the constraints on bank lending but by SaaS innovators which have changed customer perceptions of how to pay for software. When combined with a culture of late payments that seems to be growing, it creates particular challenges for smaller vendors and resellers.

Syscap has been providing IT finance solutions for nearly 25 years. We have worked closely with our partners and clients to respond to some of these challenges. It led us to launch Support Funder earlier this year. It allows vendors and resellers to receive upfront payments for annual revenues and removes the need for monthly invoices or administering direct debits.

We also understand that for many resellers the most important part of their business is the services and maintenance that they sell alongside the hardware and software. So we have structured the product to include intangible services. If you would like more information about Support Funder, contact us.

At Syscap, we often talk about our business being innovative and dynamic – but innovation is only relevant if it meets a customer need. To use a familiar turn of phrase, “Necessity is the mother of all invention”. Support Funder is the invention but the necessity is the culture of late payment which seems to pervade the business environment.

We often hear from our channel partners about how they have had to offer monthly direct debit options because a competitor is prepared to do it or resellers who are spending time and effort chasing invoices – even for relatively small amounts of money.

To return to our analogy, cash flow is the necessity and Support Funder is the invention. But Syscap and our channel partners are working together as proud parents in this situation. We hope that you keep giving us feedback, telling us your concerns and sharing experiences. It drives us to create better products that meet your needs. We look forward to hearing from you.

Philip White, CEO

What are the benefits of leasing as part of an IT deal?

Great IT sellers don’t need to just offer the latest technology, infrastructure, networking or software solutions, they also need to be able to provide the best in customer service, too. One of the most effective ways you can help benefit your clients, and for you to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, is by offering IT leasing. So here are our top tips to an IT lease.

The benefits for you:

1. Removing the barriers to sales

The ability to pay up-front, particularly for high-value products, is simply out of reach for many businesses. Particularly start-ups and smaller businesses hoping to grow. Rather than insisting on immediate payment terms, offering a leasing option to your clients may put much more of what you sell within their reach.

2. Offers opportunities to upsell or cross sell

A manageable leasing solution might not just make the product they originally wanted affordable, but you may find that there is the greater potential to sell a more premium package or cross sell addition solutions at the same time.

3. Encourages customer retention

Making your products more affordable is likely to lead to happier customers and a happy customer is more likely to have a better relationship with you and return when they have other IT requirements in the future.

4. You’ll get prompt payment

Once the lease has been arranged and the invoice sent, you’ll get 100 per cent of the sale price, while the finance company handles the lease repayments.

The benefits for your customers:

1. Easy monthly budget management

The ability to spread the cost of an IT solution creates a fixed monthly expense that can be much more straightforward for customers to factor into their monthly cash flow, with the added advantage of access to the technology from day one.

2. Keeps alternative credit lines available

Customers will enjoy the fact that they can turn to you as a ‘one-stop shop’ to both fulfil orders and get financing. Plus, they may find this type of financing easier to obtain than a bank loan. Better still, it leaves alternative lines of credit untouched and available for other projects.

3. Staying at the cutting edge

Rather than having to wait until there is money in the budget available for an up-front purchase, businesses will be more able to access the latest technology and IT solutions when they need them, rather than when they have some cash to spare.

4. The opportunity to upgrade

You don’t need us to tell you how quickly things can change and customers may need to upgrade their IT before the term of their lease is up. With the right finance partner, a reseller can build in upgrades and mitigations within the lease to allow their customers to sign a new agreement for the latest equipment or software, often without an increase to their monthly payments.

You might be more comfortable talking servers and software rather than finance terms. So don’t worry one of Syscap’s dedicated consultants can talk you through the process and is always available to deal directly with the client. Contact us to find out more.

£1.7bn Support & Maintenance Market Funding For Resellers

Syscap is launching a new funding solution to allow resellers to unlock revenue from the UK’s £1.7 billion* IT support and maintenance market.

The new stand-alone online product, Support Funder, allows resellers to receive payment for an annual IT support and maintenance deal at the start of the contract, while clients spread the cost into simple monthly instalments.

Support Funder is already being used by several major Channel businesses, including Iris and Swiftpage. Syscap is also in negotiations with around 50 more IT resellers to use Support Funder.

Contracts for services including maintenance of equipment and software, helpdesk provision and staff training are potentially one of the most profitable parts of the market for IT resellers, although most have yet to tap its full revenue potential.

Until now no funding has been made available to help resellers access this market

Syscap explains that until now, no suitable funding was available to help resellers access this market due to the short-term nature of support contracts. For many IT resellers, this has led to difficulties in securing and maintaining support contracts, as the significant up-front expense involved has acted as a barrier to some clients.

Accepting monthly direct debit payments from clients has also not been a practical option for the majority of resellers, as arranging direct debits through a bank involves significant costs and administration work, and very few resellers are able to accept these payments directly.

Support Funder will provide payment up front to resellers for their support contracts, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses while it takes the administrative burden of collecting the monthly payments from their clients.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “Most resellers are still struggling to make the most of their capabilities in maintenance and support, and the lack of a suitable funding product has definitely left many of them unable to provide annual support contracts in the best way for their clients.”

“We think Support Funder can be the key that unlocks profits for resellers in this market.”

“Many resellers have told us that they could retain a much higher percentage of their support and maintenance clients if they had the ability to offer financing for the service. Syscap has a long history of providing bespoke funding to Channel businesses, so this product was a natural fit for both ourselves and our clients.”

Syscap plans to roll out the Support Funder model to other IT services in the coming months.

Says Philip White: “We believe that there is scope for this funding model to be applied to other services provided by Channel businesses, allowing resellers to offer a better deal to their clients.”

* Source: TechMarketView