29 October 2019

By Richard HEITMANN – International Sales Director – AURES UK

Many Charities and Not-for-Profit organisations operate according to models that, externally at least, are hard to distinguish from commercial businesses. The aim of registered Charities is usually, at some level at least, to generate revenue. Putting the matter of charitable donations to one side, the best way to generate income is to do what all profit-making companies do – sell goods or services.

The key difference between non-profit organisations and commercial businesses is what happens to the leftover revenue when costs are taken out – what businesses call their profit. Charities, whether they are selling second-hand goods through shops or running a tourist destination or site of some special public interest, put all ‘profit’ back into their campaigns or maintaining whatever asset they look after.

Non-profits and commercial businesses therefore have different viewpoints on cost control. For businesses, of course, reducing costs helps to boost profitability. But there is always the ‘speculate to accumulate’ maxim to consider – sometimes, investing in a business to make it more efficient, attractive and high-profile helps to raise those all-important margins.

For non-profit organisations, pursuing this kind of investment approach is trickier. Finding the capital required always means taking funds out of core resources, whether that is campaign or operational funds. Charities have less of a financial ‘buffer’ than profit-making businesses.

We see this in the sale of EPOS hardware. Charities and non-profits reap the benefits of fast, efficient point-of-sale terminals that can run the latest end-to-end business IT platforms just like commercial businesses. The latest flexible deployment options, simple-to-use capacitive touchscreens and queue-busting processing speeds are designed to streamline operations and support revenue growth wherever they are used. But non-profit organisations are sometimes not in a position to meet the up-front costs of the very best systems.

But that is no reasons for Charities and Not-for-Profits to miss out. The solution is to look at alternative financing models, and one of the most popular is what is known as Hardware-as-a-Service (HAAS).

From the cloud to your till

The ‘as-a-service’ model has been developed, honed and popularised by cloud computing. Taking business software as an example – EPOS applications, for instance – in the past, the only option organisations had for accessing such products was purchasing them outright up front and then installing and running them on their own IT systems. Cloud-based software services, however, involve third parties running and managing the platforms on external data centres and then offering access to them (via the internet) for a subscription fee.

The benefits of this “as-a-service” model are lower costs, switching from upfront Capex expenditure to more predictable, stable Opex spending spread evenly over a period of time, and the fact that all the tricky, potentially resource-draining aspects of asset ownership – maintenance and technical administration etc – are taken care for you.

Organisations around the world, commercial and Not-for-Profit, have flocked to the cloud service model because of these benefits. It is a concept most commonly associated with software and IT infrastructure. But there is no reason why IT end users can’t get the same benefits when it is applied to hardware.

At AURES, we pride ourselves on the quality and reliability of our EPOS terminals. We believe they represent excellent value for the performance they deliver. However, you don’t get top quality hardware at budget prices. We also recognise that upgrading to a suite of our cutting edge, multicore processor touchscreen terminals is a major investment. For many would-be customers, including in the third sector, this can represent a slight obstacle.

That is why, through our channel partners, we are happy to support a HAAS procurement model. Instead of buying equipment outright, clients essentially lease use of terminals from a service provider. This includes all installation and configuration plus clearly defined SLAs covering things like breakdowns and replacements. It’s also an on-going arrangement – if the equipment reaches the end of its life, that’s not necessarily the end of the contract. Depending on the terms of the deal, clients can expect an upgrade to the latest products within a fixed period.

For non-profit clients, the predictable Opex costs offered by the HAAS model help them to keep cost-revenue ratios stable over long periods of time without having to factor in unknown future capital investments. This means they can access EPOS solutions that will make a difference to their operations without worrying about the upfront resource implications which takes away the hassle!

For further information please contact us today.

Richard HEITMANN – International Sales Director