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!

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

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.

Funding for IT investment jumps 9% in a year

IT leasing bucking overall trend of asset finance industry

IT investment through leasing in the past year totaled £1.5 billion, up 9% on £1.37 billion in the previous year*. Many businesses cut back sharply on IT spending following the credit crunch, leaving Britain’s business IT infrastructure crumbling.

The growth in asset finance for IT investment halts the overall trend of business investment through asset finance, which contracted by 1.7% over the same period, going from £22 billion to £21.7 billion. This is partly due to the withdrawal of ING from the UK asset finance market in November 2012.

The main reasons for  the rise in IT investment by businesses is the boom in the use of cloud storage, the increasing number of companies supplying tablet computers to their employees, and even businesses switching to Windows 8.

Investment in IT has impact on economic growth

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, comments: “Investment in IT by British businesses can be a huge catalyst for economic growth. It has a massive impact on how efficient and globally competitive UK plc can be.”

“Cloud computing has completely changed the landscape of data storage globally. Businesses around the world have moved hundreds of thousands of terabytes of data out of in-house storage to the cloud over the past few years.”

“That has driven a huge increase in demand for storage at third-party data centres. A lot of these cloud providers are investing heavily in storage, networking and security, as their clients become more comfortable with the notion of remote storage, and more willing to put sensitive data in the hands of third party providers.”

“The penetration of tablets into the workplace has also been a major factor in the increase in IT investment. A massive number of employees across financial services, professional services and the technology sector are now given tablets by their employers to aid their productivity. This comes with a cost that some businesses are choosing to meet through asset finance.”

“Even Windows 8, despite a difficult first year in the market, has provided some impetus for businesses to invest in new IT equipment.”

Asset finance to invest in IT has grown in popularity

The use of asset finance to invest in IT hardware and software continues to grow in popularity as many banks remain unwilling to write business loans to fund IT investment.

Explains Philip White: “A lot of banks lack the specialist knowledge to assess the long-term value of IT assets, meaning they are often reluctant to write loans to fund them. This means a lot of businesses have found that asset finance is a much better fit for their programmes of investment, as the specialists in the sector have a much keener understanding of how to assess the risk in lending against IT hardware and software.”

“Leasing allows businesses to bring their IT equipment up to date without impacting on cash flow, or adding to the level of debt they carry on their balance sheets. This frees up cash for the other vital investments businesses will need to make as the economic recovery gathers pace.”

Asset finance for IT investment by UK business, last two years*

Asset finance for IT investment by UK business, last two years*

* Year end October 31. Source: FLA